Secret Leaders with Dan Murray-Serter

Secret Leaders with Dan Murray-Serter

By Kindling Media

This is the entrepreneurial education I wish I’d had. A few years ago, I thought I'd made it as a Founder. My app was topping the charts, I was winning awards, having drinks with the Queen at Buckingham Palace (she laughed at one of my gags, sure), but as my business started to fail, I realised I had so much more to learn. The trouble was I found most business chat too stuffy, surface level or braggy so I started Secret Leaders to get behind the mask of entrepreneurship. I speak with the best Founders and business experts to learn how great companies are built - especially the things that normally get left out, like their mistakes. We cover the most important stuff, from fundraising to hiring, habits to mindset, so you can learn how to build a successful business. And no, you don’t need to get into an ice bath at 5am either... https://www.instagram.com/danmurrayserter https://twitter.com/danmurrayserter https://uk.linkedin.com/in/danmurrayserter Contact: hello@secretleaders.com

Episodes

My Favourite Failure: From The Apprentice, to the teacher - Joseph Valente

After winning The Apprentice, Joseph Valente expanded his plumbing and gas business to a national scale. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the markets changes and Joseph had to rebuild his new business from the ground up. He followed in the footsteps of his mentor, became his apprentice, and has gone on to teach others how to avoid his failures and replicate his successes. -- Check out Personio - the all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders
29/02/24·17m 16s

The Pillars of Peak Performance - Lara Menke

Leading a team to peak performance begins within. In this episode, Lara Menke; business Psychologist, CEO and Co-Founder of leadership coaching firm CAIA, gives us the keys to unlock our self-awareness and reach peak performance.  From feedback and coaching techniques, to the confidence conundrum, to striking the ideal inclusive yet decisive leadership balance - expect practical models you can instantly apply paired with thoughtful reflection on leading people amidst the pressures and stresses of entrepreneurship. Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
27/02/24·56m 34s

My Favourite Failure: Do what is meaningful - Tom Foxley

Tom Foxley, Founder of the Adventurepreneur Collective, spent years building his lifestyle and coaching business. He had reliable clients, a team he loved and the business was bring in six-figures. All of this felt like "success", until a breakdown on his honeymoon revealed the deep misalignment between his work and his passion for adventure. This is when he fully realised that; If you don't do what is meaningful, you won't regret it for the rest of your life. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
22/02/24·17m 57s

£100M Exit - How Human Psychology Built Ella's Kitchen- Paul Lindley

Building a thriving business takes more than just getting the economics right - it requires truly understanding human psychology and what motivates people.  In this episode, Paul Lindley, Founder of kids' healthy food brand Ella's Kitchen, provides a rare glimpse into the human dynamics, vision and motivation at the heart of one of the biggest success stories in the UK startup space.  Paul reveals his secrets for: - Mastering company culture and the psychology behind hiring and leadership - Building an iconic national brand on a startup budget  - Staying rooted in deeper values and mission even amid huge success -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
20/02/24·1h 24m

My Favourite Failure: Lessons from a Dot-Com Crash Survivor - Sharath Jeevan OBE

In the midst of the dot-com bubble, Sharath Jeevan OBE, Founder of Intrinsic Labs, was convinced by investors to pursue rapid growth and prioritise the consumer market. However, after the dot-com bubble popped; he realised that as a leader, he had to learn to follow his internal compass not just the funding market -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
15/02/24·10m 38s

Why Founders need therapy - Sophie Scott

Founders have a lot on their plates - how do they navigate it all without losing track of what’s important? In this episode, we chat with Sophie Scott - a Founder and psychotherapist who’s on a mission to help Founders discover their purpose, cultivate sustainable self-care practices, and answer the question, “why do Founders need therapy?" Just as a disclaimer; Sophie mentions some of her clients' experiences. These accounts are composite and anonymous. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
13/02/24·1h 10m

My Favourite Failure: Build in private, fail in public -Faisal Abid

Faisal Abid, The Co-Founder of Eirene Cremations, spent two years developing the product for his first business. He thought after all of his planning and developing his company would be a hit, once it finally launched. He soon realised; building a product isn’t the same as building a company.  -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
08/02/24·11m 23s

How to grow your startup - Ex PayPal growth strategist Matt Lerner

Is there anything harder in business than growing your company? Probably not and that's why we're speaking to one of the best in the growth game - Matt Lerner. He explains how to find the 10% of things that will actually grow your startup, how to hire growth people, how to prioritise growth experiments (it's not the usual way) and lots of other things that can change your company's future. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
06/02/24·1h 8m

My Favourite Failure: Losing £500k on an event that should’ve been the start of my new career - Amanda Brock

Amanda Brock, the CEO of Open UK, took a decade too long to jump from her legal career to what she really craved - the frenzy of entrepreneurship. She stayed in law too long because she’d experienced a sobering failure years ago - running an event which lost half a million pounds. What happened? -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
01/02/24·11m 57s

Numan Founder: One exit, one failure and one tbc - Sokratis Papafloratos

Sokratis Papafloratos is the Founder of Numan who are tackling a lot of male healthcare problems like erectile dysfunction, hair loss, sleep and weight issues. This isn't his first rodeo. Sokratis exited with his first startup, albeit at great personal cost. His second one failed. And now he's leading Numan. What's going to be his fate this time? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
30/01/24·1h 4m

My Favourite Failure: Disasters with hiring and being hired - and I’m a recruiter - Ken Schmitt

Ken Schmitt is the Founder and CEO of a high end executive search firm, which is ironic because we’re going through his biggest career failures and they all revolve around hiring. Well, hiring or being hired because Ken went through a period where he kept being fired. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
25/01/24·13m 14s

SpareRoom Founder - I turned down an offer I couldn't refuse, plus how we fix rental market crisis | Rupert Hunt

SpareRoom is a business you've probably heard of - bringing together strangers and putting roofs over their heads. It's a bootstrapped business and its Founder Rupert Hunt still finds his housemates through it today. Rupert could've sold up years ago - he turned down an offer he says he couldn't refuse. Why on earth did he do that? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
23/01/24·48m 30s

My Favourite Failure: Collapse of my business left me unable to pay for my daughter’s open heart surgery - Brian Will

Brian Will is a seasoned entrepreneur who’s sold several businesses, but his first one was a baptism of fire. Brian had a difficult childhood. He was a D student who failed high school, got kicked out of home at 18 and joined the military. He had a chip on his shoulder and struggled with discipline - he lost rank twice. And then his first business went under at the worst possible time for him and his family. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
18/01/24·12m 18s

How Fanfix Founders exited for £52m in 10 months whilst graduating

Can you imagine graduating university and exiting for tens of millions at the same time? Cue Harry Gestetner and Simon Pompan, the Founders of Fanfix, a platform that helps creators better monetise their content. They built the business for mobile-first, multi-channel Gen-Z creators and their audiences (a bit like Patreon for Gen Z) - and their traction was so strong that SuperOrdinary bought them just 10 months after launch. Here's how. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
16/01/24·52m 27s

My Favourite Failure: In 24 hours I went from leading the rocketship to the gig being over, in my own company - Adam Weber

Adam Weber is a multi exited Founder, podcaster and the SVP of Community for 15Five, a performance management software company. What’s fascinating is he ended up making it in a very different role to what he thought he was good at. Adam had been a salesman until the biggest deal of his life collapsed, along with the plan for his future. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
11/01/24·13m 6s

Farmers to Founders: Tyrrells crisps, Chase spirits, Willy's apple cider vinegar and BAZ & CO all in one family

Clarkson's Farm taught us that being a farmer is tough, and from this podcast we've learnt how tough it is to become a successful Founder. James Chase's family has done both. His father was up against it as a farmer so started Tyrrells crisps before launching Chase spirits followed by Willy's apple cider vinegar (all consumed by Dan). Now James is building his own thing, a skincare for men brand called BAZ & CO. How do you build multiple well known B2C brands? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Personio - all in one HR platform: https://personio.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
09/01/24·1h 1m

My Favourite Failure: 4 big failures which nearly cost me everything - Joel Gandara

Joel Gandara sold his businesses a few months ago, is retired, doing what he enjoys - so he’s feeling pretty good about his life choices. But a few years ago, it was a very different story. It seemed more likely that Joel would find himself back where he’d begun - and Joel didn't have the easiest start to life. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
03/01/24·16m 21s

My Favourite Failure: Validated in my ivory tower but we didn’t have product market fit - Better Nature Tempeh Founder

Doctor Driando Ahnan-Winarno is the CTO at Better Nature Tempeh, but he’s not just any CTO - he is a Chief Tempeh Officer. Tempeh is a type of food that's really popular in Indonesia, where Dr Driando grew up, so he tried bringing it to the UK. He got early validation but had to give up on his original vision. Here's how it went wrong - and what he learnt from it. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
14/12/23·15m 29s

Lovevery: How Jessica Rolph built $800m giant after $300m Danone exit in <10 years

Jessica Rolph is the Co-Founder and CEO or Lovevery which makes play kit subscription boxes for kids - and is one of Dan's favourite kids brands. It's also massive, valued at $800 million at the last count - and it came pretty quickly off the back of a challenging earnout she experienced with Danone having sold her previous company Happy Family for about $300 million. How has she done it? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
12/12/23·1h 9m

My Favourite Failure: Unpaid payments nearly destroyed my business despite UK legal system & rock solid contracts - Neil Ambikar

Neil Ambikar says you can't rely on the UK legal system. Neil is the Founder of B2Bpay and Narvi Payments - and B2Bpay is lucky to still be here. The company was taken to the brink by a sequence of events that led to Neil questioning the legal system in the UK. He says he did everything right but ended up losing. This is how the game is really played. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
07/12/23·14m 38s

How $4b Webflow Founder failed 3 times before getting it right - Vlad Magdalin

Vlad Magdalin is the Founder of Webflow, a no-code platform which allows people who aren't software engineers to build complex websites. They were valued at $4b at the last count but amazingly he tried doing the business three times before getting it right. He wouldn't advise a friend to take the same risks he did - despite the enormous pay off. Here's why. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
05/12/23·58m 21s

My Favourite Failure: Given a settlement and pushed out after declaring disability | Molly Johnson-Jones

Molly Johnson-Jones is the Founder of Flexa, a global directory of flexible companies. The idea was born out of the worst moment in Molly’s career, which left her doubting her worth and ability to be in a workplace. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
30/11/23·13m 17s

How to manage your stress response when you're up against it - Sensate Co-Founder Anna Gudmundson

Anna Gudmundson is the Co-Founder of Sensate: a pebble like device you can put on your chest which tones (vibrates) the vagus nerve, which helps control your stress response. Anna is fascinated by stress and how we can handle it (75% of the world are anxious - go figure). She explains some some of the science and tactics to manage your stress response, and of course it's a subject Dan love being Mr Vagus Nerve. Sensate: https://www.getsensate.com/ -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
28/11/23·1h 16m

My Favourite Failure: I lost my company, job, had to sell my cars, house & move back in with my mum | Tay Sweat

Tay Sweat is retired today having put a lot of the earnings from his fitness and supplement business into the stock market. But that was actually his second attempt at that business. He failed on his first go, and that knocked him back decades - back to an even worse position than he'd been in when he was a teenager. It would’ve broken a lot of people but Tay, well, he likes to sweat.  -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
23/11/23·16m 34s

Ticket Tailor - Bootstrapping to £6m after selling business to TimeOut and buying it back

Jonny White is the Founder of Ticket Tailor. He was a software engineer who spotted a gap in the market for ticketing systems before building a white labelled service to sell to companies. TimeOut got interested in the tech and that was the start of his wild ride in entrepreneurship. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
21/11/23·1h 4m

My Favourite Failure: Chef who got rave reviews, celeb diners and a bustling business but couldn't sustain it

Sameer Vaswani is the Co-Founder of Prodigy Chocolate, a company that’s taking classics like Snickers and making them more modern and child friendly, like less sugar and more eco packaging. Before this venture, he built a very successful food manufacturing business in West Africa - but before all of that - he failed. He set up a restaurant which boomed for a few years - he was living his dream life. But gradually that dream slipped away. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
16/11/23·11m 44s

Cobra beer Founder - how to get through crises having nearly lost his business three times | Lord Karan Bilimoria

Lord Karan Bilimoria is the Co-Founder of Cobra beer, the best selling beer in Indian restaurants around the UK. We all pray for those moments we find a gap in a market we can exploit. That’s exactly what happened to Karan in 1989, realising the UK needed a better lager that complemented pan-asian food. He’s now a member of the House of Lords, having joined in 2006 and sits as a cross-bench peer, helping in particular with the Covid response. Over the years he’s almost lost the business 3 times, so what has he learnt about building resilience? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
14/11/23·1h 9m

My Favourite Failure: Entering a death spiral - Rico Mandel

Sometimes in business you pass the point of no return and you don't even know it. Someone who knows all too well is Rico Mandel, the Founder of Miz En Place, a successful foodie marketplace... but Rico only got into food after his marketing agency business went bust. This is how Rico failed, what he learnt from it - and a simple hack to make you feel better about your life, however bad things seem. -- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
09/11/23·13m 12s

How to know if it's the right time to sell - UK's greatest record producer behind Sade, Sting, Clapton etc. | Sir Robin Millar

Sir Robin Millar is arguably the UK's leading record producer, having worked with the likes of Sade, Randy Crawford, Eric Clapton, Sting, The Grateful Dead and many others. He produced the Atlanta Olympic Games opening ceremony in 1996, has had over 160 gold & platinum discs - including 44 No. 1 hits. He's got a great CV. He's also a blind man and in today's episode we learn what that's really like, how to make great music - and how to build a successful music business. Sir Robin is full of business principles, whatever industry you're in - with some real insights to when you should exit even if it's not the best price you'll ever get. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
07/11/23·1h 6m

My Favourite Failure: From the outside my lingerie business looked amazing but I’d got the key numbers wrong - Emma Parker

Emma Parker is the Founder of Playful Promises, a company behind a few lingerie and swimwear brands - including a lingerie brand of the same name. What’s funny though is she lost that business despite the outside world thinking it was going amazingly well. This is how Emma failed and how she recovered - and what you can learn from it about building businesses. --------------------------- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
02/11/23·13m 29s

Shane Parrish: How to think clearer & make better decisions

Is there a more important skill for business leaders than making good decisions? We’re not sure there is. Yeah, you need vision, communication skills and hopefully some empathy - but without good decision-making you won’t get very far. In today’s episode we’ve got arguably the world’s most popular decision-making expert Shane Parrish, Founder of Fanham Street, to explain the key principles of clear thinking and great decision-making. -- Sponsors Get better internet through Vorboss: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2 though Vanta: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Save on your SaaS or Cloud spend by using the code 'secretleaders' with Vertice: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
31/10/23·46m 59s

My Favourite Failure: Debt collectors at the door after over-extending too fast - Alex Chisnall

Sometimes we put on a brave face when it's the opposite of what we should be doing. Alex Chisnall is the Founder of a Podpreneur, a podcast agency, and the host of the Screw It Just Do it podcast. He’s built a great business and loves what he does, but his first foray into entrepreneurship was a disaster. After a debt collector knocked on his door, blocked his car and refused to leave, it resulted in him having to come clean to his wife about the extent of his business’s problems. It was the worst place Alex has ever been. In this episode we learn how it got to that point, his regrets, and the business lessons he took from it, so you don’t make the same mistakes. --------------------------- To get a better handle on your security, check out https://npsa.gov.uk/innovation and download their free Quick Start Guide.
26/10/23·16m 43s

How to fail well (to become a better entrepreneur) | Author and psychologist Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson has spent her life dedicated to studying failure and psychological safety. It’s her belief that the most successful cultures are those in which you can fail openly, without your mistakes being held against you.  Amy is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School and has been named by Thinkers50 as the most influential management thinker in the world. Her work has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Psychology Today and Harvard Business Review, and been drawn upon by companies including Google, Pixar and Microsoft. She joined us on Secret Leaders to talk more about her new book ‘Right Kind of Wrong: Why Learning to Fail Can Teach us to Thrive’ which provides the science and solutions for us to promote greater innovation, efficiency and safety – both across the workplace and in our personal lives. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
10/10/23·56m 1s

Games Workshop Founder: ‘I’d rather be a nerd than follow the herd’ | The Power of Play with Sir Ian Livingstone

If you’ve visited a high street in the last 40 years there’s a good chance you’ve seen Games Workshop, a British institution that’s stood the test of time. One of its Founders, Sir Ian Livingstone, sold out of the company in the 90s but continued to make an unbelievable impact in the games industry, alongside being an angel investor and a best-selling fantasy author.  He’s had a hand in Tomb Raider, Hitman, Championship Manager, Fall Guys and Golf Clash to name just a few. So you’ve absolutely played something he’s helped bring to market. Last year Ian released his memoir, Dice Men, which tells the story of the early days of Games Workshop and he has recently opened his own academy in Bournemouth. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
02/10/23·55m 20s

Depop: $1.6 billion exit to Etsy & now he’s starting from 0 again I Founder, Simon Beckerman

2011 was the beginning for Depop, an app that lets you buy and sell your own clothes on a marketplace, Depop attracted GenZ and created a boom for vintage clothing. Simon Beckerman wanted to create a community behind his marketplace, somewhere users could create virtual stores from a device in their pocket. Fast forward 10 years, Simon sold Depop to Etsy for $1.6bn. But he didn’t stop there. Instead of taking time off, Simon decided to get straight back into the game. This time, he’s taking on the food industry with DELLI, an app that lets you buy and sell a curated mix of locally sourced and produced food and drinks. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
26/09/23·1h 9m

Managing Europe's biggest YouTubers The Sidemen - to succeed become dispensable | Jordan Schwarzenburger

If you’ve been online in the last 10 years, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Sidemen. 7 guys from the UK, all successful YouTubers in their own right, who grouped together to create one of the most successful YouTube collectives in the world. With over 240 million monthly views and 19 million subscribers, the Sidemen have branched out well beyond content - launching their own fast food chicken franchise (Sides) and premium vodka brand (XIX Vodka). Whilst these 7 guys are immensely talented creators, they needed structure and a strategy to exploit their commercial potential - and that’s where Jordan Schwarzenberger and Arcade Media came in. Jordan started his career as a creative at VICE and LADBible before he became the Chief Creative Officer at YMU Group, Europe's largest talent management company.  Having being introduced to the Sidemen by his friends and co-founders,Jordan now manages the group in all their endeavors. In fact,The Sidemen are Arcade Media’s only client. In this episode you’ll hear Jordan explain what it’s really like working with some of the biggest content creators in the world and how you can replicate some of their success. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
19/09/23·1h 4m

Exclusive: Planet Organic Founder reveals being pushed out & forced to sign gag orders before saving broken co | Renée Elliott

Would you go back to save the business you started, when you’d already walked away?  Renée Elliott had to fight for her business, Planet Organic, right from the start. Two years after they launched in 1995, her then-business partner tried to force her out, which culminated in a High Court battle. Renée won and along with her husband Brian who came on as Managing Director, took back control of the business. They ran it together for ten years.  Then, in 2009 they decided to step away from the business to raise their children. They moved to Italy, then returned to the UK, where Renée started a coaching and wellbeing business, Beluga Bean. Nine years after she stepped back from the business, Renée sold the majority of her shares in Planet Organic.  She'd done it, achieved the entrepreneur's dream, built a business, sold it and could now relax… or that’s what everyone thought.  In May 2023 Renée made headlines when she led a bid to buy Planet Organic after it was announced the company was going into administration.  It’s an extraordinary journey, but one Renée has not been able to be completely open about…until now. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
12/09/23·55m 11s

Dan Murray-Serter: How to build a personal brand whilst running a business (and why you should too)

If you're a Founder, or if you've just got big career ambitions, building your personal brand is becoming less and less optional. It's what potential employees or investors or Co-Founders or employers look at when deciding whether work with you. It's also one of the things that our usual host Dan is best at. He's just passed 150k followers whilst running three businesses so today he's spilling the secrets of how to do it. Yes, we really mean the secrets - the stuff people don't talk about but is key to success. Let's find out what's behind the curtain. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
05/09/23·51m 46s

‘Unicorn status? It’s meaningless!’ And why entrepreneurs are born not made | Evidation Founder Christine Lemke

Being comfortable with different opens your mind… Those are the words of our guest today, Christine Lemke, she’s the Co-Founder and CEO of Evidation. Christine’s story is a unique one, she was adopted from South Korea as a baby into a strict Lutheran household in South Dakota.  Several start-ups later, Christine was encouraged by her own chronic pain to co-found Evidation,an app which uses points as rewards for daily activity, education, and health monitoring. Once users get enough points, they can redeem them for cold hard cash. They reached unicorn status recently, joining the big leagues, but Christine says she doesn’t care about reaching this milestone. Why?  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
29/08/23·1h 2m

My Favourite Failure: Pro baseball player who lost childhood dream & nearly lost gym business at critical moment - Burn Boot Camp Founder Devan Kline

Former professional baseballer, Devan Kline founded fitness company Burn Boot Camp with his wife Morgan. From starting out in a parking lot with only 600 dollars in his bank account, they are now operating in 42 states and have 375 gyms across the country.  But we wouldn't be talking to Devan if everything had all gone up and to the right. In the early days he made a serious mistake that put the whole company at risk.  What happened? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
24/08/23·15m 57s

Vinted: 2am house party idea that became Lithuania’s first unicorn | Co-Founder Milda Mitkute

How long would you spend before launching your business?  Milda Mitkute was at a party in 2008 when she ended up chatting to developer Justas Janauskus. She’d come up with the idea for Vinted after she found herself with too many clothes for the small flat that she moved to for university. They decided then and there to turn the idea into a reality and launched the website just two weeks later…Only to forget one critical detail.  A decade later, despite many bumps in the road, Vinted was valued at $1 billion, making it Lithuania’s first ever unicorn. Two years later, in 2021, their valuation sored to to $4.5 billion. It’s now Europe’s number one second-hand marketplace, with over 75 million users spanning 16 countries. And it was all sparked by an unexpected exchange at a time and place where good ideas normally die. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders. Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders. Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/. You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes.
22/08/23·41m 17s

My Favourite Failure: I should’ve listened to my gut! Lucy Cohen

Lucy Cohen is the Co-Founder of Mazuma, the UK's first subscription tax advisory firm and one of the country’s leading online accountants for small and micro businesses. They have over a thousand clients across the UK and have moved into the US market. But, in their early days, it all came so close to falling apart.  What happened? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
17/08/23·16m 2s

Lying to the Secret Service, working for Obama & choosing NOT to be a unicorn | Dan Siroker, Co-Founder of Optimizely & Rewind AI

Have you found your ‘calling’ in life? Do you think you ever will?  Today’s interview is with Rewind AI Co-Founder and CEO Dan Siroker. After leaving Google to take on the role as director of analytics in the 2008 Obama campaign, Dan knew his purpose was elsewhere. Having gone deaf in his 20s and later getting a hearing aid, he felt superpowered. This inspired him to try and augment human existence with new powers, senses and abilities. He co-founded Optimizely in 2009, growing it to $120M in annual revenue and 450 employees before leaving in 2020 to start Rewind AI, a program that remembers everything you’ve seen online, giving you instant access to everything you’ve ever looked at on your phone or computer. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
15/08/23·1h 2m

My Favourite Failure: "We signed a deal with the devil" Glenn Poulos

Glenn Poulos is a successful founder, who exited from his company in 2022. But that was his second exit. His first, 15 years before, was a very different story. He thought he had achieved the entrepreneur's dream, an eight-figure exit, after selling his business to a public company. With the shares he got in return he was going to be a multi-millionaire. Instead, he was left with hardly anything, and no job, after having to fire a hundred people. What happened? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
10/08/23·11m 58s

Leon Founder: “Imprisoned” by big mistake & how to figure out your best role | John Vincent

Have you ever questioned what kind of leader you are and which roles truly suit you?  Today’s interview is with Leon Co-Founder and Former CEO John Vincent. Named after John’s father, Leon was founded in 2004. John became CEO ten years later in 2014 after his co-founder Henry Dimbleby stepped down. In 2017, Leon was named on The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list, which ranks Britain's 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over the last three years. In 2021, the company was sold for a reported £100 million to the billionaire Issa brothers.  But look behind this success, and you’ll find a lot of lessons along the way. John talks about: How to identify your personality type and which roles might suit you best as a founder Why every business needs disruptors, scalers and executors What John did wrong as a disruptive CEO  Coming up with the idea for ‘healthy’ fast-food Their big mistake early on  Why wise investors keep Founders in the driving seat His relationship with his co-founder What to do if you give away too much equity early on  How much he actually made when they sold the business Why he wrote the book ‘Winning not Fighting’ which draws on the philosophy of Wing Tsun, an ancient Chinese martial art How identifying your fears can help you understand your desires Why he thinks it's unhealthy to have too many regrets -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodesvanta.com/secretleaders
08/08/23·52m 45s

My Favourite Failure: Making millions after failing seven businesses in four years - Peter Kell

Peter Kell is a serial entrepreneur and successful marketer who has gone from being a millionaire to losing it all to being a millionaire again. As a teenager he was obsessed with the idea of getting rick quick. So he set about to do it, he hustled, setting up seven businesses in four years. But each one of them failed. He was left with nothing; completely broke, his car repossessed, evicted from his flat. How did he pick himself up and turn his life around? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
03/08/23·18m 20s

Theragun: Hacked together in 10/10 pain - the $400m garage invention

In 2008 Dr Jason Wersland was in crippling chronic pain after a motorbike accident. He was in a dark place. A trained chiropractor, he knew what kind of relief he needed, and searched the market for a product that could give it to him. But when he came up empty handed, desperate, he decided to make one himself. By 2019 the Theragun was being used by over 250 professional sports teams and by 2022, Therabody, the company Jason founded, generated nearly $400 millions in revenue. Woof. How did he do it? And how did he attract so many celebrity clients? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
01/08/23·52m 6s

My Favourite Failure: We were too young, idealistic and couldn’t turn it off - Young Han

"Every single major tech company that you know of has this story where they battled it to the bitter end." Young Han grew up in Silicon Valley and worked in tech before moving to Texas a few years ago for a slower way of life. In this most recent chapter he’s really got into small businesses, like a pool cleaning company which he scaled to $1m in revenue in 10 months.  He’s a coach, tech consultant, and Founder himself. He’s a fan of taking as many shots as you can and failing fast....well now he is. Because one of his companies, GoVolunteer, didn’t fail fast. In fact, it took him and his Co-Founders 9 years to go from deciding it wasn’t working to actually switching it off. What did that teach him about when to walk away? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
27/07/23·15m 13s

How to win at business and make a dent, with serial entrepreneur Daniel Priestley

Daniel Priestley is a serial entrepreneur and one hell of a thinker who we first spoke to on the podcast in 2017, for just our 9th episode. How the time flies. Daniel is prolific. He’s the bestselling author of books like Key Person of Influence, 24 Assets and Oversubscribed. He’s a lecturer and an excellent teacher of entrepreneurship. He’s also the co-founder and CEO of consulting agency Dent Global - and the Founder of ScoreApp. You’ll hear some of his entrepreneurial gems today which we hope will make you a better business builder.  In fact, we think there are more lessons in this episode about business building than we’ve done in a while. Hope you like it. It’s time for round two. What would make the show better? Please tell us :) hello@secretleaders.com -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
25/07/23·50m 10s

My Favourite Failure: Happiness expert who was desperately unhappy running a happiness startup - Jennifer Moss

Jennifer Moss is a workplace happiness writer, speaker and strategist.  Having moved back to Canada from Silicon Valley in 2012, she co-founded a company called Plasitcity Labs with her husband.  They developed happiness strategies for companies and got some big clients like LuluLemon. On the cusp of signing a transformative deal in 2019, they got blind-sided days before signing which fatally crippled morale. And in the midst of all this, it didn’t escape Jennifer that she was running a happiness startup but was desperately unhappy. What happened? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
20/07/23·16m 24s

Elemis Founder: How UK's #1 skin brand got built after previous company went bankrupt - Sean Harrington

Sean Harrington is the Co-Founder and CEO of Elemis, one of the best-known skincare brands in the UK. Before being bought by L’Occitane four years ago for $990 million, they were the number one British skincare brand in the world. Sean spent time as a bouncer, taxi driver and worked for his dad’s suntanning business before it was bankrupted in the recession of 1989, leaving him destitute in the process.  Thankfully, one of his former clients saw something in Sean and made a point of investing in him. Through them, he found himself in a new role, co-founding a company alongside Noella Gabriel and Oriele Frank. To this day, he cites their individual strengths as the reason Elemis succeeded.  The goal was always to create something global and their products are now available in 45 countries. We get into how he built Elemis into what it is, from launching their products to the landmark L’Occitane sale. Plus, how cancer made him live differently but not how most people expect. What would make the show better? Please tell us :) hello@secretleaders.com -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
18/07/23·47m 1s

My Favourite Failure: Knowing when to give up is one of the hardest decisions you’ll face - Anita Abildgaard

Anita Abildgaard is the Founder and CEO of Iris AI, a company helping humans make sense of the world’s scientific knowledge.  She’d always wanted to be a Founder and lead companies. In fact that was her specific goal after finishing her MBA.  She achieved that, but her first venture ended in failure, as did the next. She went through two bruising startup experiences in a row. So what did she learn from it? And what did she learn about walking away? That’s something we don’t talk about enough in startup circles. --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
13/07/23·14m 22s

Klarna Founder: Even $45.6 billion can’t buy happiness - Niklas Adalberth

Niklas Adalberth is the co-founder and former Deputy CEO of Klarna. The massive Swedish fintech provides payment services for online shops like ASOS being able to offer their customers buy now pay later. Although Klarna has been hugely successful, Niklas found himself hitting an emotional rock bottom after he came to the infamous realisation that money doesn’t buy happiness.  After some soul searching, Niklas left Klarna and founded his next venture: Norrsken Foundation. It's a non-profit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs solve the world’s greatest challenges like poverty, famine, mental health, pollution, climate change, or something else entirely. Niklas is now less interested in unicorns than he is in impact unicorns – companies that positively impact one billion lives.  We want to know if 'typical' entrepreneurial success is even worth it. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
11/07/23·51m 21s

My Favourite Failure: Burnt out twice and unable to make the most basic decisions - Oliva Co-Founder Sançar Sahin

Sançar Sahin is the Co-Founder of Oliva, a mental health startup which has just raised £4.3 million at the time of putting this together. It’s a B2B which helps companies give mental health support to their employees, like on-demand therapy and coaching. Like our host Dan, with his company Heights, there’s a very clear line of sight from Sançar’s personal health crisis to starting his company.  At his low points, he found himself stripped of confidence, unable to make the simplest decisions. What happened? --------------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
06/07/23·12m 7s

IMDb Founder: Jeff Bezos's best advice & learnings from watching 15,000 films - Col Needham

Did you know that IMDb was one of the first 100 websites EVER? Yeah it's mad, and it's still going - and it's always in the top 50 most visited sites in the world. Welcome to the mad world of IMDb Founder Col Needham, the movie buff you want to take to the pub to ask him all the trivia and best-of questions you can imagine. But this is also a great business story. IMDb was one of the first ever acquisitions from Amazon, making Col one of Amazon's earliest employees. He got to work alongside Jeff Bezos and in this episode we draw on his extraordinary insights. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
04/07/23·1h 1m

My Favourite Failure: Estonia’s first CIO who needed open heart surgery after institutional failures pushed him to the brink - Taavi Kotka

Taavi Kotka is the Founder and CEO of Koos.io but he shot to fame as the CEO of one of the largest software development companies in the Baltics. After he sold the company in a big money deal in 2012, he had a non compete which left him with time when he couldn’t work in the private sector. He was appointed the first Chief Innovation Officer of Estonia whose role is basically to drive technological progress in the country. It gave him the opportunity to make a massive impact - a national one.  He and his team delivered in many areas but it came at great personal cost. What happened? --------------------- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
29/06/23·14m 20s

My Favourite Failure: The side business which cost me £150k, my appetite, and my mental health - Gope Walker

Gope Walker is the Founder and CEO of Data Kraken, a data consultancy that helps companies make valuable, data-driven decisions. But whilst Data Kraken is making more money than ever today, the venture downstairs is another story. Gope wanted to create a cafe that brought people together. But instead, it left him with depression, loss of appetite, and a £150,000 hole.  He thought he was creating something valuable but customers didn’t see it that way. And when the council had the chance to save the business, they gave the cafe the cold shoulder. What happened? If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
22/06/23·15m 4s

My Favourite Failure: Startup lessons from several failures that added up to a unicorn - Wayflyer Co-Founder Aidan Corbett

Entrepreneurs need to reframe failure as the norm, says Aidan Corbett. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wayflyer, a unicorn which provides funding for ecommerce companies. Not too shabby, and along the way, he has tried and failed with various initiatives. His failures didn’t all come in one go, but what he learnt added up to some pretty good startup lessons.  What happened? If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
15/06/23·12m 33s

Admiral: How to be a better boss from Co-Founder of £7 billion insurer - Henry Engelhardt

Henry Engelhardt is the Co-Founder and former CEO of Admiral Group. They’re one of Britain’s most valuable companies – currently valued at over £7 billion – and also the only FTSE 100 company in Wales.  Chances are, you’ve used one of their many brands at some point: Admiral Insurance, Bell Insurance, Elephant Insurance, Diamond Insurance, Veygo Insurance… if you’ve ever purchased insurance, basically. Or even if you’ve just run a search on Confused.com or Compare.com. In fact, they launched the UK’s first ever search comparison site. Henry is full of stories and lessons. Not only was he headhunted to found Admiral, but he ultimately had to fight to keep everything that was owed to him once he made the company what it is.  His first book, Think Lead Succeed: The Admiral Way, was released in January 2021 and now, he’s back with a follow up: Be a Better Boss: Learn to build great teams and lead any organization to success.  We speak about what it really means to be a better boss and how to avoid falling into a leadership style of hypocrisy to how all of life’s experiences offer opportunities to learn. Henry has always been very open about Admiral’s innovations - the one thing he can’t understand is why none of their competitors ever try to copy them.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
13/06/23·50m 7s

My Favourite Failure: We built cool stuff but it didn’t solve problems - Kim Little

Being really productive isn’t enough to win at startups. Kim Little is the Co-Founder and CEO of Moments of Space, a successful meditation app, but about 10 years ago he was in a very different space. He was living in Australia, having co-founded a semantic driven products company (yeah we get onto what that means). He put $400,000 Australian of his own money into the company and they launched a series of cool sounding products. But they never got anywhere. What went wrong?  ------------------ If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
08/06/23·12m 29s

COOK: Nearly bust to £100m a year revenue - with brother and sister in charge I Co-CEOs Ed Perry & Rosie Brown

Ed Perry and Rosie Brown are the Co-CEOs in charge of high-end ready meal company, COOK. Their USP is using the same ingredients and methods a normal person would use in their kitchens to create ready meals that actually feel home-cooked.  A company run by Co-CEOs is pretty unusual but Ed and Rosie are especially unusual because they’re also brother and sister. Ed co-founded the company with Dale Penfold in 1997. His sister Rosie Brown joined the company soon after and then became Co-CEO in 2018.  They’ve steered the company through tough times like the cost of living crisis and credit crunch which took the company to the edge of bankruptcy. Now, COOK's products are available in 850 stores across the UK not including the 94 COOK shops and turnover is £100 million.  Just like a great recipe, Rosie believes COOK's success is down to a number of high-quality ingredients like strong principles, valuing people properly and the influence of faith. Yup, faith. For instructions on how to prepare, put your headphones and turn the volume up to 8... -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
06/06/23·50m 54s

My Favourite Failure: On the cusp of losing my company, marriage and myself - Mike Dunn

Mike Dunn is the Founder and MD of Excel TLM Group, a telemarketing and lead generation company for construction businesses.  Excel today is a solid, growing business but they came within a whisper of collapse - as did Mike himself.  It all came to a head on a family holiday they’d saved for years for. Mike thought he could lose everything, including his family.  He felt like he’d hurt and failed everyone.  What happened and what did he learn from it? ------------------ If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
01/06/23·17m 13s

Just acquired Blinkist Founder on life-changing books, mistakes & finding your ikigai - Holger Seim

Holger Seim is the Co-Founder and former CEO of Blinkist, a subscription service that summarises non-fiction books in 15 minute explainers.  The company was started because Holger and his Co-Founders wanted to find a way to read more books in less time whilst together at college in 2012. Blinkist has been downloaded 26 million times and was acquired by Go1 in May 2023, with Holger staying on as Chief Operating Officer. We don’t know how much they were bought for, but Go1 CEO, Andrew Barnes, has implied it was “significantly bigger” than the company’s previous $160 million valuation.  So, how did they do it? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
30/05/23·53m 9s

My Favourite Failure: Bombing on stage at a startup pitch final - AJ Keller

AJ Keller is the Co-Founder of Neurosity, who make brain imaging devices you can use at home. But before that he experienced an epic fail that put him on the path to where he is today.  AJ’s first foray into brain imagining brought him to a point in the Summer of 2017 when everything was riding on him and his teammates winning an NYU startup pitch competition. If they won, they would get the funding they needed to turn their company into a real thing.  Fail, however, and their venture would be over. What happened? ------------------ If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
25/05/23·15m 28s

Elon Musk’s favourite blogger Tim Urban on how to build an audience, no matter your product

Tim Urban is the writer/illustrator behind Wait But Why, a blog he founded with his business partner, Andrew Finn, as well as the man behind one of our favourite TED Talks of all time on procrastination.  Tim writes long-form articles covering topics from outer space to love to artificial intelligence. As he puts it, he writes about “almost everything actually”. Each post is also accompanied with Tim’s now-iconic doodles.  Content creation is one of the hardest things to monetise effectively, but Tim hasn’t just managed to make a living from stick figures; he’s also used it to network with the most influential people on the planet, including Elon Musk.  His new book, What’s Our Problem?: A Self-Help Book for Societies is the fruit of Tim’s six-year exploration into what exactly is going wrong with society right now. In short: he thinks we’ve lost the nuances and lays out how we can start to rebuild the bridges that have been damaged in recent years.  What are the simple things all societies need to do to kick on from where we are? How do you monetise well when you’re a content creator going after a niche audience? And what’s Elon actually like in person? Let's find out... -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
23/05/23·50m 45s

My Favourite Failure: How House of Holland was forced to bring in the administrators

Henry Holland is the man behind fashion brand ‘House of Holland’, known for its signature rhyming slogan t-shirts such as 'Cause me pain Hedi Slimane' and ‘“I’ll Tell You Who’s Boss Kate Moss’. At one point they had over a 100 stockists all over the world. Henry produced special collections for Debenhams and Habitat.  But at the start of the pandemic, Henry called in the administrators and left the world of fashion to go into ceramics. What happened? If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: personio.com/secretleaders
18/05/23·14m 36s

Will AI save us or destroy us, and when? | Mo Gawdat

Mo Gawdat is legendary builder, thinker and now one of the leading voices in the emerging field of AI. This is a topic we want learn more about because it’s going to change our world. Mo spent over a decade as Chief Business Officer for Google X. He’s also the bestselling author of the books Solve for Happy, and most recently, Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World. He’s extremely thoughtful about the positives and negatives we face as a species. As Mo says: “The shit has already hit the fan”. AI is coming whether we like it or not. And in a universe where AI is becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s more important than ever to find the value you can bring to the world.  We face a future beyond anyone’s comprehension, but Mo knows better than most what challenges we face. That’s why this conversation is so important: no one is coming to save us. But it’s not all doom and gloom - we can save ourselves, if we just start treating each other better. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
16/05/23·1h 2m

Sweetgreen: How to make a $1b farm-to-table restaurant chain, with Founder Jonathan Neman

Jonathan Neman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sweetgreen, a farm-to-table restaurant chain making fast food healthy. Unless you’re one of our American listeners, you probably won’t be familiar with Sweetgreen but they’re a staple of the LA, New York and Washington food scenes. They’ve got over 200 sites across the country. You probably don’t think of salad and tech in the same sentence but Sweetgreen love a bit of tech. They’ve run pilots to test the viability of blockchain technology to track and trace their ingredients and stock. And, having acquired a robotics startup in 2021, they’re now creating an automated restaurant where robots will prepare ingredients which are then assembled by human chefs. Pretty wild. Where is the restaurant industry heading? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
09/05/23·51m 34s

The tricky first year being public - Dan Murray Serter, Chapter 5

Every few months we interview our host Dan to find out what it’s really like being a Founder because his day job is running his VC backed startup Heights.  If this is the first episode like this you’ve heard then please stop what you’re doing and search for Dan Chapter 1 in the Secret Leaders feed. He’s got a good origin story. If you’re up to date, in the previous episode with Dan a few months ago we learnt how to develop a product and bring it to market. That’s where we are today. Dan and his Co-Founder Joel have developed the Heights Braincare supplement but now they need to scale it. They need to scale the business. This is the tricky first year of being public. They need to negotiate their way out of the valley they’re in now, into the larger valley next door. How did they do it? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
02/05/23·49m 5s

How I Failed: I closed my business because my heart wasn’t in it - Jess Salamanca

Jess Salamanca is the Founder of Moxie Club, a community for female Founders. But before Moxie there was another business Jess started which could’ve been BIG. She had the opportunity to take it to a whole new level but instead decided to close it down. What really happened? -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
27/04/23·12m 36s

Waze Founder - why you should teach your children to fail | Uri Levine

Fall in love with the problem; not the solution - that’s the philosophy of Uri Levine, the serial entrepreneur behind more than ten startups including two unicorns. His best-known success is Waze, the traffic navigation app he Co-Founded in 2007 and sold to Google for over $1 billion six years later. Uri is a well-known speaker but he added “author” to his CV earlier this year, with the release of his book, taking its title directly from his philosophy. He wrote the book to spread entrepreneurial success as far as possible. It covers everything from the importance of failure, to the best approaches to hiring, to why it's so important to 'date' your ideas but fall in love with your problems. Why should you focus on product/market fit above all else? Why is every decision you make by definition the right decision? And how do we know that our next episode is going to be the best one we’ve ever made? Tune in to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
25/04/23·50m 39s

How I Failed: nearly dying, quitting singing career & losing $150k on book launch - David Wood

David Wood is a high performance coach. He’s been doing that for 25 years, and has recently taken up acting - but his life has been peppered with failure and tragedy.  David will tell you that failure is a part of a life-well-lived because it means you’re pushing yourself. The people you’ve really gotta worry about are the people who never fail because they’re the ones who never try. David has tried a LOT of things and succeeded in several. But we’re here to learn from his most memorable failures, including one which nearly killed him. What happened and what did it teach him? -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
20/04/23·17m 12s

Why you shouldn't be an entrepreneur - Vorboss CEO and Founder Timothy Creswick

Timothy Creswick is the CEO and Founder of Vorboss. They're an internet service provider for businesses which might not sound riveting but that's only until you hear the story of how it came together and what they’re actually doing. Timothy saw a gaping opportunity that the market had missed because of distractions caused by COVID and he seized upon it. Vorboss have secured £250 million of investment. Their goal is to turn that into £1 billion by deploying the UK’s only dedicated fibre network for businesses throughout Central London. They’ve discreetly laid over 500km of fibre optics since 2020 without many people noticing - and that has been a key part of their master plan... -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
18/04/23·54m 43s

How to become wealthy - Secret Leaders X Making Money

We've just launched a new podcast at Kindling Media (we make Secret Leaders) helping people learn how to build wealth. It's called Making Money and it's the financial education we wish we'd had. This is the first episode, but dropped into the Secret Leaders feed. You can listen to the rest of the show here: https://link.chtbl.com/secretleaders-mm Or search for Making Money wherever you listen to your pods. Hope you enjoy!
17/04/23·48m 45s

How I Failed: I became an arrogant, egotistical knobhead - Dave Foreman, Managing Partner at Praetura Ventures

Dave Foreman is the Managing Partner at Praetura Ventures. He’s not here to talk about a failure in business like normal, although his failure did seep into his work.  Instead, he’s here to tell us about a failure of character.  Dave used to be a knobhead. His words, not ours.  This is how he turned his life - and himself - around. -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
13/04/23·17m 31s

Linktree Founder - spinning side project into one of top 3 fastest growing companies in the world | Alex Zaccaria

Alex Zaccaria is the Co-Founder & CEO of Linktree, a product that's so simple it’s difficult to imagine nobody thought of it before. It’s a kick yourself kind of product, especially now they are worth over a billion dollars.  Linktree solves a unique problem in the social media age. Most social sites like Instagram only allow you to have one link in your bio. For successful people, in all kinds of industries like music, picking that one link is a nightmare. Do you want to send your followers to your merchandise, to your website, to your tickets or wherever?   Linktree solves the problem by having one link to rule them all. You put your Linktree in your bio which when clicked on, displays various links to various things that you might want to promote. Alex, his brother Anthony, and their business partner Nick Humphreys, created Linktree because they saw how much time they were wasting having to update individual bio links for their clients at their digital agency, Bolster.  After running the operation as a boot-strapped side-hustle for several years, things snowballed when singer-songwriter Alicia Keys joined the platform. How the hell have did they turn that link site, a side project, into one of the top three fastest growing company in the world? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
11/04/23·48m 43s

How I Failed: Losing my temper, my marriage and needing emergency psychiatric help - Lisa Collinson

Lisa Collinson is one of the best guests we’ve spoken to in a while. She has been through the ringer, but fortunately, has come out the other side.  She’s here to tell us what happened and how you can pull yourself out of the grimmest pits that life can throw you in.  Lisa today is the Chief People Officer & Country Manager in the UK of The Next We, a company helping other organisations improve the mindsets of their employees. But before that she was in Berlin, leading the People team at a startup, when her life collapsed. What happened? -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
06/04/23·18m 30s

Extending human life, with Humanity Co-Founder and CEO Pete Ward

We’re talking to Pete Ward, the Co-Founder and CEO of Humanity. Until now, the thought of slowing or even reversing the ageing process has been pure science fiction. But using readily available technology, Humanity are out to change that.  As a society, we’ve fallen prey to the idea that there’s a one size-fits-all methodology that will improve people’s health -exercise more, eat healthier, drink less - you’ve heard it all before. But Humanity, have recognised that everyone is built differently. By using their app to track your nutrition, movement and mind, Humanity say you can compare yourself against the global datasets, revealing what you, specifically, should do to improve your personal health. Before Humanity, Pete had several successes behind him.One of his earliest was WAYN.com, which he also Co-Founded. They were the largest social travel network for over 13 years before he sold it to to lastminute.com in 2016. And now, with Humanity, he wants to have a more meaningful impact on the world.  Pete’s story is fascinating, and he’s got advice on mentorships, why you probably have more leverage than you realise and how you should always think twice before giving up in the face of adversity.  You can’t change your chronological age, but can you really change your biological one? Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
04/04/23·1h 1m

How I Failed: I walked into a room and fired 30 of the 38 people in the company - Retention.com Founder Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is the Founder and CEO of Retention.com, a SAAS business which is on an insane growth trajectory. But, before Retention.com, Adam failed. In fact, like most successful people, he had a bunch of failures.  The one that sticks out most to him is what we’re talking about today, when he walked into a room and fired most of the people at his company. What happened? -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
30/03/23·14m 8s

The secret to hiring the best - and getting hired - with Otta Co-founder, Sam Franklin

Do you want to get better at hiring, or being hired?  Sam Franklin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Otta, a job search platform that wants to make the experience of job seekers in the tech industry way, way better. Recruitment and jobs boards might not seem the most exciting areas to disrupt but the subject of hiring is so important and can be very nuanced. All businesses succeed because of their people. At Otta, they’re really leaning into the power of the job seeker. And in the fast-growing tech industry, where demand for the best talent is very high, that has turned out to be a strong strategy. Sam got a taste of what it takes to build a fast growing startup when working at the prop-tech Nested. It was at Nested, as Head of People, and doing over 30 hours of interviews a week, that he realised how soul-destroying the recruitment process can be for many people. That was the start of Otta.  If you want to get better at recruitment, either as an employer or job hunter, then there are some gems in this episode. Sam shares his tips for hiring, including stuff we’ve never thought of before. Why does he say that companies should avoid trying to be the best? What are the biggest mistakes companies make? And, what is his advice to founders trying to disrupt a stuffy industry? Listen to find out.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
28/03/23·50m 4s

How I Failed: Multi-gold winning Paralympian Natasha Baker - having the most embarrassing fail you can imagine

Natasha Baker is a British dressage rider with 5 Paralympic golds to her name and a load of other top medals. She experienced a very public failure which left her in tears. And then, a few years later, the thing she was most scared of happening in the world, happened.  What’s it like when you fall off the literal horse on the big stage? And what did it teach her about failure that we can all learn from? -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
23/03/23·13m 8s

War Paint Founder: I used to steal women’s makeup because of shame, hell of body dysmorphia & turning down all 5 Dragons - Danny Gray

This conversation with Danny Gray is one of our all-time favourites. Danny had a childhood filled with bullying, trauma and mental disorders. It left him with scars that no one else could see, and eventually led him to starting War Paint, a men’s makeup brand that is on an unbelievable growth path. They’re creating a new category. In fact, they’ve already created it and are fast becoming an iconic brand. Plus, Danny went on Dragons Den, got offers from all 5 Dragons and then ultimately turned them down. Madness. In this episode, we find out what really happened, behind the cameras. Danny is also the Founder of Jaaq, a mental health platform which covers everything from depression to addiction, hair loss to periods. They’ve managed to get A-listers like Alastair Campbell to bare their souls, explaining the toughest things they’ve been through. The theory is that hearing from people with lived experience is a key part of feeling understood and ultimately being able to tackle your demons. Danny looks and sounds like a 'Jack The Lad'. He says that was his image - but it really was all an image. So what happened in his childhood that crushed his confidence? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
21/03/23·42m 29s

Startup armageddon: Bank of England was going to allow SVB failure to kill UK startup industry until Founders & VCs stepped in

You probably heard SVB collapsed, but what you probably don’t know is how close the UK startup ecosystem came to collapsing all together. This is the inside story of how a small group of Founders and VCs fought to save the industry. How do we know? Because our host Dan was a small part of it. If the story we’re telling today hadn’t happened, then Dan would be sitting here without a company. This is how the crisis really played out. -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
16/03/23·24m 20s

Wise Co-Founder: Being Skype's first employee and the difference between winners and losers

Taavet Hinrikus is the Co-Founder and former Chairman of Wise, the unicorn fintech which used to be called TransferWise. He’s now the Co-Founder of Plural, an investment platform for early stage capital built by founders and real operators like Taavet. Oh, and he was also the first ever employee at Skype. Basically, he’s one of the top startup dogs in Europe so we had to get him on to learn what the difference is between great companies and the rest. It’s always amazing hearing about the early days of companies which become absolutely massive like Wise, or Skype. These are the days when they’re signing up tens of users, rather than tens of thousands - and they’re wondering if they’re barking up the wrong tree. All startups begin with 0 real users and it’s fascinating how the best navigate their way from there to the top. Taavet is part of the group of Estonian entrepreneurs who’ve had a GDP level impact on the country.  Let's find out why he's been so successful. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
14/03/23·37m 41s

How I Failed: Pasta Evangelists Founder - previous luxury smartphone company was just too big a mountain to climb

Alessandro, or 'Alex' Savelli, is the Co-Founder of Pasta Evangelists - a brand you’ve probably come across. Their pasta is delicious and everywhere. But, before he was getting his hands in the proverbial pasta dough, he tried to climb a much tougher mountain - building a luxury smartphone brand. We’re talking hardware and software to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung but bedecked in precious metals and jewels. They had some big wins, but it didn’t work out - and we’re here to find out why.  -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
09/03/23·11m 33s

Teenage prodigy who turned down Facebook as a 15 YO to take them on in VR - Unai Founder Maxim Perumal

Maxim Perumal is the Founder of Unai and we think he’s a certifiable genius. He’s certainly one of the most exciting Founders we’ve ever spoken to - he built the world’s most popular open source VR headset when he was 15 years old, and turned down working at Meta. His company Unai is building a VR headset and virtual world to make human expression in VR feel magical, which is a bold claim but he’s got the people to do it.  Maxim has managed to bring together a crack team of ridiculously qualified VR talent who believe in him, a young man who’s only just able to drink in the States. We think you’ll find him compelling too. He’s got a great explanation for why the likes of Meta have been failing with VR and their version of the metaverse. But he also hints at a more exciting alternative. Listen to find out.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
07/03/23·46m 9s

How I Failed: forced to walk away with £5k in the bank and no shares - Matteo Grassi

That’s Matteo Grassi, the Co-Founder of Pop-Up, a thriving no code eCommerce platform. But before all this, there was another period in his life - a much darker period.  He left Shopify in 2016 to become a partner in a company, which Matteo has asked to keep anonymous. The idea was they would quickly spin up dozens of D2C ecommerce shops, connecting customers with cool products.   They would be the middleman and they absolutely exploded. It was a paid marketing masterclass. One of their shops got to 12 million in revenue in months.  But as you know, that’s not how things ended because we’re not here to talk about success stories. We’re here to learn from Founders’ toughest moments.  What happened? If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
02/03/23·15m 11s

How I Failed: death threats and journalists knocking on the door after growing too fast, with Matt Kelly

Matt Kelly, the Founder of Spacegoods (really cool company btw) experienced one of the fastest rises and falls with a bootstrapped business we’ve ever seen. He grew Neon Beach, a DTC neon sign brand, to £7m in revenue in a year. He got to £10m in 18 months - from his bedroom, in lockdown - basically just him, his laptop and freelancers. But then he made one big mistake which cost him more than this business.  What the hell happened?  -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
23/02/23·13m 53s

Former Welsh rugby captain Sam Warburton learns from golfing legend Paul McGinley - Secret Leaders X Captains

We're linking up with our mates at Crowd Network to introduce you to one of their new podcasts, Captains with Sam Warburton. Whether you’re big into your sports or not, this show has plenty of leadership gems to be taken into your life and career. Sam is joined weekly by a successful sporting leader, who explain what it takes to be the very best. To listen to the rest of this chat, search for ‘Captains with Sam Warburton’ in your favourite podcast app, or hit this link: https://pod.fo/e/15f4e5
21/02/23·25m 37s

How I Failed: dumped two weeks before my dream wedding, with MBA Professor Cassie Holmes

Cassie Holmes is a professor at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, where she teaches the immensely popular MBA course, Applying the Science of Happiness to Life Design. She’s also the author of Happier Hour, a new book that gives us the tools to be happier, some of which we’ll dive into later today.  Cassie’s understanding of happiness was born out of a deeply unhappy period, sparked by an intensely personal failure. The failure of her impending marriage to her childhood sweetheart. What happened? -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
16/02/23·15m 23s

Childs Farm: Beating Johnson & Johnson with a skincare brand started in a kitchen - Founder Joanna Jensen

Joanna Jensen is the Founder and former CEO of Childs Farm, a baby & child skincare brand.   The company began at home after Joanna grew frustrated with the lack of choice for her young daughter’s sensitive, eczema-prone skin, so she started to make her own products. When those worked she got a thousand bottles made and went up and down the country selling them at trade fairs, country shows, anywhere she thought potential customers might be. It was the start of something magical. They got their first listings in Boots in 2014 and then two years later the brand blew up. They went viral after customers started posting ‘before and after’ photos of their children’s sensitive skin. They went viral again the year after, and by 2019, their sales exceeded Johnson & Johnson in the UK. Quite an incredible thing for someone who started out making body lotion in a freezing cold barn. In March 2022, the company was sold for 40 million pounds to PZ Cussons Plc. How did she do it? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
14/02/23·1h 1m

How I Failed: “He is a cancer on what could be a great organisation” - Teach First Founder Brett Wigdortz on the worst feedback he’s ever received.

Brett Wigdortz is the Co-Founder of Teach First. He started the business in 2002 after seeing how the UK education system was failing miserably. The company has gone on to be a massive success but it was incredibly close to imploding because of how he operated in the early days.  When Brett asked for feedback from his staff, a small moment turned into a big moment that would change the course of Teach First, the lives of its employees and its thousands of future teachers and students. What happened? Listen to find out. -- If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  -- Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
09/02/23·11m 38s

Why 50% of A&E visits are avoidable and how to solve the social care crisis - Cera Co-Founder Dr Ben Maruthappu

Dr Ben Maruthappu is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cera, a digital-first home healthcare company. In just over six years, Cera has established itself as one of the biggest providers of healthcare at home in the UK, as well as one of the fastest-growing companies in Europe.  Cera currently makes almost 50,000 visits a day to people’s homes in the UK. That’s the equivalent capacity of around 50 hospitals.  After launching in 2016, they have raised over $400 million and are generating over £250 million of annualised revenue. They’ve scaled, expanding to Germany, where they are growing over a hundred percent year on year. The care sector and healthcare in general were in a state of crisis even before the pandemic. Normally, if a sector needs change, entrepreneurs step in, disrupting the norm. But doing this in the care sector in the UK is notoriously difficult, even for well funded companies.  Ben is well aware of the issues having worked in A&E and then spending three years advising the CEO of NHS England. He’s not just jumping on the hot medtech trends. And that’s allowed him to avoid the implosion in healthcare that has seen once lauded startups fall. That takes a lot of resilience and conviction. He is the first person from British healthcare to ever be included in Forbes' 30 under 30.  What is it like to scale at that speed with no experience ever managing anyone before? And how do they use data to keep people out of hospital? Listen to find out.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
07/02/23·55m 25s

How I Failed: huge traction but held hostage by the business, with Christie Ellis

Christie Ellis founded one of the first human quality pet food companies, The Healthy Pet Gourmet. Her aim was to revolutionise how we feed our pets by helping them live longer and happier. She was going to build the next IAMS.  The press went mad, customers loved it. She was on World News Tonight, the Today show, and top-end magazines. She had high profile clients, one who designed her kitchen for all her pet food. On paper, the business was doing well. The product was selling, and then Whole Foods expressed interest in stocking it.  But the business failed… Why? Listen to find out. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
02/02/23·14m 54s

How I Failed: From $250 million to 0, with Shyp Founder Kevin Gibbon

Shyp started in 2013 when Kevin Gibbon had the idea of taking the Uber model and using it for shipping. He created an on-demand service where customers would take a picture of what they wanted to send, a courier would come pick it up and then take it to a warehouse to be packaged and delivered using major shipping companies.   There was huge excitement when they launched. They were featured on the front pages of newspapers and Kevin was hailed as the ‘next Steve Jobs’. They were a hit with investors, raising their seed round within three months, their Series A the following year and their Series B the year after that. At their peak they were valued at $250 million dollars. But the company failed.  So, what went wrong?  Listen to find out. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
26/01/23·12m 23s

How to improve your performance by looking after your brain and gut, with UK's top dietitian Sophie Medlin and leading neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart

Did you know that looking after your brain is one of the best ways to be more productive? And your gut is central to the decisions you make?  This episode brings insights from two professionals at the cutting edge of their fields, to give actionable steps on how to be more effective, improving your life at work and at home.  Dr Tara is a world-leading neuroscientist and best selling author of ‘The Source’. She has a PhD in neuropharmacology, was a medical doctor and child psychologist, having trained at Oxford University. She has spent the last decade coaching leaders and CEOs from across the world and is also a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan, where she teaches classes on how understanding the brain and neuroscience can lead to better business performance. She doesn’t just understand the brain inside out, she knows how to communicate what you need to know about it - to help you build better habits and have a bigger impact. Sophie Medlin is one of the UK’s most respected gut experts. She’s a medically trained nutrition professional, a senior lecturer at King's College, the Chair of the British Dietietic Association for London and star of Channel 4s new show ‘Know your Shit’. She explains how looking after your gut can enable you to be the best leader you can be. They are both colleagues of our host Dan at his company Heights.  We talk about:  How you know when your brain isn’t being looked after What is neuroplasticity? How our brains actually work. The best habits for your brain to start doing The non-negotiable priorities for looking after your brain What is the gut microbiome and why is it so important? Why looking after your gut can keep your immune system healthier and stop you getting sick How, cell for cell, we are more bacteria than human How drinking diet sodas might mean you actually consume more calories Their tips for optimising the brain and gut for peak performance. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
24/01/23·1h 5m

How I Failed: Drinking to forget what was going on - Dom McGregor, Social Chain Co-Founder

Dom McGregor co-founded Social Chain with Steven Bartlett, host of the hit podcast Diary of a CEO. Their business didn’t fail, in fact, it sky-rocketed. When they exited the company after six years in 2020, they’d built it to hundreds of employees, with clients like Apple, McDonald's, the BBC, and Boohoo, and taken it public the year before with a value of about £250 million.  But the pressure on Dom was immense, and the way he coped left him feeling like he’d failed. He had turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with both the highs and lows of being a young founder in a fast-growing business. Exacerbated by his feeling of imposter syndrome, this toxic relationship with alcohol ended up nearly costing him his role in the business.  Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you're worried about your own or someone else's drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm). You can find more information on alcohol support on the NHS website.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: otta.com/secretleaders
19/01/23·15m 17s

What do you do when you get $300m? Start tackling the real problems facing humanity - Kernel Founder & CEO, Bryan Johnson

What do you want to do with your life? Do you have a plan? Bryan Johnson knew from a young age he wanted to have a big impact on the world and set out to do it. His plan was simple, he wanted to make enough money so that he could focus on really making a difference to the world.  And he did it. Not by doing anything flashy but by building a payments platform, bootstrapping it for years, and through understanding a hell of a lot about human psychology he got it to the point where he sold his company, Braintree Venmo , for $800 million to Paypal. He personally got $300 million. With that money he went on to found Kernel, a company that designs and manufactures brain-scanning technology with the aim to improve life expectancy by combating age-related issues, in 2016. Since then, Bryan has continued to look at how human beings can be and do better, including himself. In 2021 he started Project Blueprint, where he is working to reverse his body’s ageing. It involves measuring his seventy plus organs and then using that data to try to reverse the biological age of each as much as possible. He follows a strict diet and gives up all of the decisions around what he eats to this algorithm. As well as diet the regime also involves taking 25 supplements a day, and a strict exercise, skincare and sleep routine. We talk about: What it was like growing up in a Mormon community  Why learning about compounding at 7 years old was key to his success What he felt the day he sold Braintree Venmo to Paypal for $800 million How being rich has changed how he parents What he is doing to reverse his body’s ageing  Why he believes we must improve human intelligence His advice to entrepreneurs -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
17/01/23·1h 3m

Key habits for growing your wealth, why finance should be as easy as learning to drive, and choosing renting over buying - author of bestseller 'How to Own the World' and Founder, Andrew Craig

What are your new year’s resolutions? Is money on your mind?  Being an entrepreneur can be a bit of an all or nothing game when it comes to money. You're into the creation process and are willing to sacrifice a lot. It can cost you much more than you earn, especially at the beginning, and often you have nothing for a long time. But, admitting that you want money and understanding how to take control of it can be difficult, it can feel like a taboo.  That’s why this episode features bestselling author of 'How to Own the World' and Founder of Plain English Finance, Andrew Craig. 'How to Own the World' is in its third edition and rarely out of the top books for personal finance on Amazon. Andrew originally self-published the book after becoming frustrated with the fact that so many people don’t understand the nuts and bolts of personal finance. He says we can all grow wealthier by developing some simple habits over the long term. A founder himself, Andrew understands the pressures entrepreneurs face but believes that everyone can better control their finances.  What does it mean to ‘own the world’? What is the ‘100 minus your age’ rule? And why does Andrew think it's better to rent rather than buy? Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
10/01/23·1h 4m

Deliciously Ella: making new year habits stick, the issues of #girlboss culture and why she doesn’t see herself as an influencer - with Founder Ella Mills

Ella Mills started a plant-based food blog, Deliciously Ella, in 2012 after chronic illness left her physically and mentally depleted. The blog blew up and its popularity led to her first recipe book, which was released in January 2015. It became the fastest-selling debut cookbook of all time in the UK and spent eight weeks at number one on Amazon, across all categories.  Deliciously Ella now has 40 plant-based food products, stocked in more than 6,000 stores across the UK, an app, more bestselling cookbooks, a deli, and in 2022 had an expected turnover of 20 million pounds. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride though…which we’ll get into.  Ella has over 2 million followers on Instagram. Social media has played a big role in the growth of the business, but even though many would describe her as one of the original UK influencers, she doesn’t see herself that way.  How did she handle that fame along with the growth of the business brand? What advice would she give to other entrepreneurs building a disruptive consumer brand? And, what does she think about the wellness industry and the desire for quick fixes?  Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
03/01/23·1h 6m

How I Failed: Trying to please the wrong people, with Founder Rob Fitzpatrick

How do you know what to do when you’re just starting out?  In 2007, Rob Fitzpatrick and his two co-founders, were in their early twenties. They were programmers just out of academia and had an idea for a business. They were accepted to YCombinator in the same cohort as teams like Dropbox and Songkick. They got deals with big companies like Sony Music, MTV, and the BBC, were on national talk shows, got great press coverage and moved to London to be in the centre of their industry. But they died in their fourth year… What went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
15/12/22·17m 17s

Who Gives A Crap: Going viral on a toilet and selling 300 million rolls of toilet paper, with Co-Founder Simon Griffiths

Where were you when you came up with the idea for your business? Simon Griffiths was sitting on a toilet when he had the idea for Who Gives A Crap, a subscription-based toilet paper brand that donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets in the developing world. Since they launched in 2012, they’ve sold more than 300 million rolls of toilet paper and donated more than 11 million Australian dollars - just over £6 million - to charity. They now have more than 200 employees spread across 7 countries selling into the USA, Europe and Australia. In September 2021 they raised over $40 million in their first fundraising round.  It’s taken a lot to get to this point. They bootstrapped for the first 9 years and spent 3 years before that working on the product before launching. Simon didn’t get paid for the first 18 months of trading.  What does it take to build a brand that actually tries to change the world? Is entrepreneurship really for everyone? And does Simon fold or scrunch his toilet paper?  Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
13/12/22·58m 57s

How I Failed: “We were like a cockroach company, we wouldn’t die”, with Founder Steven Renwick

What happens when your business pivots so much you end up in a completely different industry? Steven Renwick founded Satago, a platform that helps businesses get paid faster, in 2012. It was actually one of the first companies to raise money on the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.  Whilst it started out as a way to crowdsource data about when companies were getting paid and use that to make real time credit reports, Steven had to pivot the business multiple times, meaning it went from a technology to a finance business.  The more the company grew, the more they needed investment, plus Steven was now in an industry he had no experience in. They raised nearly £3 million in total. But, in 2017, Steven had to try to sell Satago after it became insolvent.  What went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
08/12/22·16m 41s

The Black Farmer: managing your fear is the key to success, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones grew up in poverty in Birmingham, having come with his parents from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation. One of nine children, and as the oldest boy, it was his job to help his father on their allotment, which they used to supplement the family income. And it was on that allotment he first dreamt of owning his own farm.  His drive to change his circumstances was relentless, which was needed, because he had to excel at several different career stages just to give himself the chance of building his company. Wilfred gave Gordon Ramsey his big break in television, having been given his own break in TV, thanks to his raw persistence. Then after finally buying his farm, he set up The Black Farmer, a name coined by neighbours of his farm in Devon.  He’s written a book, called ‘Jeopardy - The Dangers of Playing it Safe’, so has really thought about the things that have made him successful - the stuff we want to know about.  How did he hone his mindset and achieve his lifelong dream? Why does he celebrate being an outsider? And why is fear so important for entrepreneurs?  Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
06/12/22·45m 37s

How I Failed: 250 VCs and not a single yes, with Pluto Co-Founder Alex Rainey

Do you want to learn about raising capital from someone who has been through the wringer and reflected on his mistakes? Alex Rainey is the Co-Founder of travel insurer and planning app Pluto, which he founded in 2018. They raised a total of £1.3 million, and grew to be the UK’s second highest rated travel insurer and one of the top-3 travel planning apps on the app store.  But in September 2022, just a couple of months before we recorded this episode, Alex and his Co-Founder sold the company after failing to raise in a brutal fundraise.  What went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
01/12/22·14m 6s

Back Market: From middle manager to $5b Founder, with Co-Founder & CEO Thibaud Hug de Larauze.

Do you risk it all when the odds are stacked against you? As a founder it’s very hard to take that first leap into the unknown and even more so when you’re in a job you love.The stakes are rarely higher and it’s so difficult to do it well.  But that’s exactly what Thibaud Hug de Larauze did when he left his job to found Back Market, a marketplace for refurbished devices, in 2014. They have grown massively since then, raising over a billion dollars, including $335 million in May 2022 - at a valuation of $5.7 billion. They are now the most valuable startup in French history!  And despite being the head of such a successful company he has managed to stay humble. How do you go from being a middle manager to one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the whole of Europe, pitching to former Vice President of the United States Al Gore AND not get too big for your boots?  Listen to find out.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
29/11/22·44m 55s

How I Failed: Losing $1.5 million on someone else’s dream, with entrepreneur Simon Squibb

Simon Squibb is a multi-millionaire entrepreneur and angel investor. After being homeless at 15, he has gone on to found 19 businesses and invest in 76 companies to date. After selling his business to PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) he retired at 40 and is now on a mission to help 10 million people start their own businesses through the Purposeful Project. But it wasn’t a straight line to success, and one of those businesses, a comic book business, failed, losing $1.5 million. What went wrong? Listen to find out. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
24/11/22·15m 49s

How 7 interviews changed my life - our 200th episode, with Dan Murray-Serter

This is Secret Leader’s 200th episode! Over the last 5 years we've featured over 50 unicorn leaders and household names such as Monzo, Slack, Duolingo, Brewdog, Lastminute.com. In today’s episode host Dan Murray-Serter takes listeners through the interviews that have had the biggest impact on him. Guests include host of Diary of a CEO, entrepreneur, and angel investor, Steven Bartlett; Co-Founder of Little Moons Vivien Wong on how they went viral during the pandemic; Eve Sleep Kuba Wieczorek on what it cost being one of the fastest UK companies to IPO ever; and Jo Malone talking about how leaving her company after her recovery from cancer was the biggest mistake of her life.  Listen to the full episodes here: Steven Bartlett, host of ‘Diary of a CEO’ and entrepreneur  Lemonade Co-Founder Daniel Schreiber  Little Moons Co-Founder Vivien Wong Eve Sleep Co-Founder Kuba Wieczorek Fiverr Co-Founder Micha Kauffman  Trinny Woodall, Founder of Trinny London Jo Malone, Founder of Jo Malone innit :P Dan reflects on what those interviews have taught him: How to stay consistently true to your path and mission statement whilst not believing your own bullshit with Founder and Host of ‘Diary of a CEO’ Steven Bartlett How to redefine an archaic industry by tapping into consumer psychology with Lemonade Founder Daniel Schreiber  How to handle the challenges of surprise growth in hard times with Vivien Wong from Little Moons The pitfalls of hypergrowth when you put the scaling your business ahead of your mental health (everything can fall like a house of cards),with Eve Sleep’s Kuba Wieczorek How to avoid obsessing over the wrong things, with Fiverr Co-Founder Micha Kauffman  How to stay humble, be vulnerable and start again with Trinny Woodall How to build resilience and not be a victim of your greatest regrets, with Jo Malone  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
22/11/22·58m 6s

How I failed: So close to achieving my dream and then walking away, with Emma Sexton

In 2013 Emma set up strategic brand agency Hands Down in her spare bedroom, on her laptop, with just £1,000 in savings. She’d never run a business before and had been an employee for the past twenty years, since she was 18. Learning on the job, she put all her energy into growing the business over the next ten years. She had one goal in mind, to make £1 million a year. Despite the pandemic, the business was on set to reach this goal in 2022…but in July she decided to close Hands Down down.  What went wrong? Listen to find out what.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
17/11/22·15m 23s

The biggest problem in business - property legend and Yoo Co-Founder John Hitchcox

John Hitchcox is the Chairman and Founder of Yoo Group, the property company behind the £1.3 billion pound regeneration of Olympia London and considered by many the global leader in the branded residence space.  John founded Yoo in 1999 with one of the world’s most famous designers, Philippe Starck. Together they have grown Yoo to where it is today, operating in over fifty cities and thirty countries worldwide.  John has been in the property market since the early eighties, when he was just 17. He’s had to bring a lot of confidence to be so successful but is honest about the challenges of being an entrepreneur. He has also ridden through multiple financial crises. With the market going bananas and uncertainty over interest rates and inflation going through the roof, it’s a good time to talk to someone who knows more than most.  What does he see in his crystal ball? And what happened when he tried to do his first property deal at the age of 14? Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
15/11/22·37m 22s

An Uncommon Criminal - Bad Money X Secret Leaders

This a new one for us - we've just launched our first true crime show at Kindling Media (we make Secret Leaders). It's called Bad Money and it's about the Hong Kong gangster, Big Spender. Obsessed with money, he went further than anyone before to get rich. In fact, he became so wealthy he could've had his own episode on Secret Leaders. This is a story of how money and power really work - and this is the first episode. You can listen to the rest of the show here: https://link.chtbl.com/badmoney_sl Or search for Bad Money wherever you listen to your pods. Hope you enjoy!
14/11/22·27m 15s

How I failed: Half a million in debt and living in my car, with Founder Konrad Bergström

Konrad Bergström is the founder of Swedish electric boat manufacturer X Shore and Zound Industries, the Swedish tech giant that sells consumer electronics for Marshall Amplification and Adidas.  But before that, he was half a million euros in debt and living out of his car after his previous business, Megascine Agency, failed. Konrad set up the business which distributed brands like Quicksilver and Burton in Sweden in the late 90s. The company grew quickly and made a name for themselves, organising events such as the world’s largest indoor snowboarding competition and the first European edition of the World Cup in wakeboarding.  So what went wrong? Listen to find out what.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
10/11/22·13m 18s

'I was 5 the first time I heard the word drugs': Nikki Wicks, CEO of The Body Coach and brother of Joe Wicks.

Nikki Wicks is the CEO of The Body Coach and the older brother of Joe Wicks. Joe, aka The Body Coach, is a household name. He’s a fitness coach with a massive online following and the author of one of the best selling cookbooks of all time ‘Lean In 15’, having sold over a million copies in its first year alone.  During the pandemic Joe became known as the ‘Nation’s PE teacher’, delivering exercise sessions on YouTube for children every week. One class of PE with Joe was live-streamed by nearly a million people, earning him a place in the Guinness World Records.  Joe has his own personal brand, but The Body Coach is also a fast-growing business that Nikki has built, along with Joe, over the past seven years. Their YouTube channel has over 2.5 two and a half million subscribers and they hit over a million downloads on their app in their first year. They are booming. Nikki and Joe have a strong bond, formed during a difficult childhood during which their father struggled with a drug addiction. Nikki says he first heard the word ‘drugs’ when he was just five years old and tried to hide his father’s drug’s use from the rest of the family. When Joe asked Nikki to come back from working abroad in 2015 to help him build his business, Nikki says he was worried about working with his brother because of the warnings he’d heard about working with family but doesn’t regret his decision.  What is his advice for those that want to work with someone they are close to and how do they cope with such a fast-growing global business? Listen to find out.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
08/11/22·44m 36s

How I failed: ‘Never go in with the idea of money first’, with Founder Kurt Davis.

Kurt Davis has spent twenty years in Silicon Valley and Asia, working in venture capital and business development for technology startups, focusing on deals with companies like Apple, Microsoft, Spotify, and Sony.  But he experienced failure, with his very first business, a mobile game company. Kurt was living in Hong Kong in the early 2000s and from there he witnessed the beginning of a wave of innovation in China, especially in tech. Alibaba, Tencent, Baibu, all of them were launched around that time and were beginning to grow.  It was exciting and Kurt couldn’t resist the opportunity. He left his job and moved to Shanghai in 2003 to make it as an entrepreneur. He was really into football and hit upon the idea of starting an online fantasy football game app. At first it was going to be a website but, after realising they weren’t going to be able to monetise it very well, they then turned their attention to mobile phones. Remember this was 2003, so the early days of smartphones, before the iPhone. All of this was really new, but they did it! They got mobile phone carriers, like China Unicom, to sell their product and also spread into other countries in Asia.  So what went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
03/11/22·11m 49s

Ignore the press, why you should be excited about the world - billionaire psychedelic investor Christian Angermayer

Christian Angermayer is a German-born billionaire. He’s on the Sunday Times rich list, and has accumulated a lot of wealth from his work as an investor, film producer and founder. But Christian is about much more than money… From his family office, Apeiron Investment Group, he invests and starts companies in areas from psychedelics to fintech, cryptocurrency, biotech, and artificial intelligence. In fact, he’s been called the world’s first ‘psychedelic billionaire’. That might seem a bit strange given the fact he is basically a tee-totaler. He doesn’t smoke. He’s a Bavarian who’s never drunk beer! His biggest vice is tea and coffee.  He’s also really into longevity. He believes that within his lifetime, we will extend human lifespan to such an extent that we will voluntarily decide when we exit this life. And he’s committing some of his vast fortune to making that a reality.  He thinks deeply about how he has got to where he has and works hard to master his ego. Why does he think this is key to being a successful founder and investor?  Listen to find out. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
01/11/22·1h 2m

How I failed: We were playing the wrong game, with Jonathan Anderson

Jonathan Anderson is the co-founder and CEO of Candu, a no-code platform that helps people build their own products. They are used by companies likeAdobe, Thought Industries, and Gorgias and have raised over five million dollars. But his first business wasn’t such a success. In 2011, when Jonathan was a student at Stanford University in a CleanTech programme, he came up with the idea for a smart thermostat controlled by your smartphone with a couple of his fellow students. The problem they’d identified was that programmable thermostats at the time were really hard to use meaning customers just didn’t do it.  It was early days for the smartphone but also exciting times. They realised they could use the GPS on customer’s smartphones to say when they were coming in and out of their homes, making heating much more efficient. After securing twenty thousand pounds with convertible note financing, they worked with a Chinese supplier to build a prototype. They were pumped to be at the forefront of the revolution in household technology But they’d made a fundamental mistake. Listen to find out what.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
27/10/22·13m 9s

Duolingo Founder: Being a genius, inventing CAPTCHA & getting 500m users - Luis Von Ahn

If you’re not one of their 500 million users, Duolingo is a phenomenally successful app where you practise a language in small chunks every day. Launched in 2012, it has become the number one language learning app and the most downloaded education app in the world. The company floated in 2021 and currently has a market cap of just under 4 billion dollars.  It’s rare for a founder to be brilliant at both invention and business but Luis Von Ahn, the Co-Founder and CEO of Duolingo, is one of them. Before Duolingo, he invented Captcha - those squiggly letters you have to write out to prove you’re not a computer. The guy’s a genius, and that’s a fact. He actually won an award for being one in 2006, the prestigious Macarthur Fellows Program award. It’s colloquially known as the genius grant, because it’s said you have to be one to get it.  Luis grew up in a single parent household in Guatemala. His mother spent all the money she could sending him to the best school she could afford. This experience, of seeing the difference between those who receive a good education and those who don’t, would later form the basis of Duolingo. But when Luis and his Co-Founder Severin started Duolingo in 2012 they had a big problem - how could they keep their users coming back? Listen to find out.  Show notes: (01:50) - The beginning of Duolingo (08:40) - Getting first interested in computers at 8 years old.  (11:15) - Inventing CAPTCHA (16:00) - Selling reCAPTCHA to Google  (19:45) - How he handled suddenly becoming very rich  (23:30) - The key things they did right with Duolingo in the early days (25:25) - How they got their users to stay motivated (29:00) - Working out how to teach Gen Z (33:00) - Why he doesn’t see Google Translate as a competitor (35:40) - Using crowdsourcing as a tool to grow the business (40:35) - His advice for other entrepreneurs -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
25/10/22·48m 17s

How I failed: Leaving my high paying job for my doomed startup with Jay Radia

Jay Radia has built three businesses worth over half a billion pounds and currently runs an accelerator focusing on increasing happiness in the workplace.  But before all that, he founded a company called Mobi RF, which failed. The idea behind the company was to allow anyone with a smartphone to start selling their photos to businesses, like iStock or Getty Images for your smartphone.  Jay had this spark of inspiration back in 2012 when Instagram was taking off and everyone was taking more and more photos on their phone. His confidence skyrocketed when he spoke to the Founder of iStock who told him the idea was incredible and that he wished he’d thought of it. He quit his six-figure job in finance and bootstrapped the company with his brother. What went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders If you want to hear more from Jay, he's got his own podcast 'Happy Millionaire'.
20/10/22·11m 25s

How I failed: Not knowing when to accept defeat, with Mark Joseph

Before Mark Joseph founded his current marketing agency, Vouch Global, he experienced failure with another agency called Testify Digital. Their clients included brands like Universal, Wonderbra, Shock Absorber and Lenovo. He loved the projects they came up with, including the world’s first award judged on social media for the Mobo Awards. They got to £1m in revenue and Mark ran the company for five years before he reached the point where he felt he had to walk away.  So, what went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
13/10/22·11m 56s

How I failed: Good options but not enough focus, with Yorkshire Meatball Co Founder Gareth Atkinson

Gareth Atkinson launched the Yorkshire Meatball Company in 2014 with his father after they recognised a gap in the market for a premium meatball product. They opened a restaurant in Harrogate, won awards, were listed as one of the UK’s top 100 startups, and ended up being stocked in 300 supermarkets across the country. Like all good entrepreneurs, they’d even built a brand that had the potential and scope to stretch into other markets. So what went wrong? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
06/10/22·14m 38s

Improbable: Inside the UK’s most secretive unicorn, with Co-Founder Herman Narula

How do you build a metaverse?  Long before Facebook changed to Meta, Improbable, a British game and technology company, was working on the idea of a kind of metaverse, even if they didn’t call it that. Now, they are at the forefront of making virtual worlds (where you can go to work, socialise, have experiences) a reality.  Improbable was born in 2012 after Herman Narula met Co-Founder Rob Whitehead whilst they were both studying computer science at Cambridge University. They had a dream: they loved computer games and wanted to go live there. They spent over a decade working on how to do that and became a unicorn without anyone really knowing what they did. But it’s not all about entertainment, they also have another side of their business that has applications in defence and public policy. They build models of real world countries which can be used to solve a whole host of problems; from what would happen if a particular response to coronavirus is implemented, to how climate change might require the electrification of a grid.  Herman is obviously a key part of the company’s success but he doesn’t want it to be all about him and warns against falling into the trap of the cult of personality such as that of Elon Musk. Instead, he says, if you are building an ambitious company, you need to be able to be open to failure and understand your limitations. And, he says, they have made many mistakes over the past decade but they were lucky because they were funded at a time when people could invest in technology companies that didn’t have a business model.  Listen to find out why young tech companies that are looking to grow now shouldn’t expect the same luck; how virtual worlds will change the way we live our lives entirely; and why he says that the era of consolidated monopolies, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, may be coming to an end.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
04/10/22·54m 19s

How I failed: On the cusp of greatness when everything falls apart with Flash Pack Founder Radha Vyas

Would you fight for your business even after you’d put it into administration?  Radha Vyas co-founded Flash Pack, an adventure holiday company, with her husband Lee, after realising there was an untapped market for solo entrepreneurs in their thirties and forties. They slowly built their company and were just entering an exciting first fundraising round when the pandemic hit, decimating their company and the entire travel industry. They had to put the company into administration but then were offered a ray of hope which meant they might be able to get their business back. What happened next? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
29/09/22·17m 8s

Dan Murray-Serter, Chapter 4: How to cross the chasm from idea to product

You want to launch a new product. But how do you decide on exactly what you’re going to develop? How do you build a community when you don’t have anything to sell them? How do you test demand? These are important questions that Dan Murray-Serter, the usual host of Secret Leaders, will be answering this week. This is the fourth chapter in our semi-regular series with Dan where we put him in the hot seat. If you haven’t listened to the previous three it’s worth doing that now because you’ll understand more about what he talks about in this episode.  Dan is a founder himself. His day job is running his VC-backed company Heights. For this episode we are going back to the beginning of Heights. Well, actually, before the beginning, because whilst Heights is now a braincare supplement company, it didn’t start out as one.  After the failure of their previous company in 2018, Dan and his co-founder Joel decided they wanted to focus on building a consumer goods company in the mental health field. They knew where they were pointing roughly and they were in the rare situation where they had money left over from their previous business, essentially their seed money. But how do you get from there to a product that people love? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
27/09/22·46m 24s

How I Failed: Unable to keep staff, with Founder Hayden Bloomfield

Do you struggle to maintain good relationships with your employees?  Hayden Bloomfield managed to grow his grounds maintenance company during the pandemic. At its height, it had a team of ten and was turning over £25,000 - £30,000 a month. But during a period of two years, Hayden went through thirty members of staff. He couldn’t focus on building the big picture because he regularly had to cover some staff not turning up for work. Why couldn’t he stop his staff from leaving?  Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders If you want to know more about Hayden's failures, check out his podcast, Benevolent Business.
22/09/22·12m 33s

Fiverr: “Stop focusing on f*cking valuations, they mean nothing!” says Co-Founder Micha Kaufman

Micha Kaufman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Fiverr, the global online marketplace for freelancers. Let’s say you’re a designer. You can list your services and display your portfolio. And then companies who want stuff designed like a new website can find you and hire you to do the work. It's called Fiverr because at the beginning all the tasks cost 5 dollars. Though the pricing has changed, the name has stayed and the platform is currently used by 4.2 million customers in 160 countries worldwide. The company launched in 2010 but Micha was committed to growing it organically so spent nothing on marketing for the first five or six years.  And that is even more incredible when you think that Fiverr, which went public in 2019, has a current market cap of just under 1.4 billion dollars and revenue of over 160 million dollars this year so far. Micha says it’s three times larger than it was when it floated. But during the pandemic, they skyrocketed to a market cap of 11 billion dollars….yeah, we get into that period! As well as that, Micha tells me how being featured on Yahoo nearly ended Fiverr when it first launched; why he says their success is down to luck, and much more. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
20/09/22·51m 35s

How I failed: The danger of doing business with friends, with Footlights Founder Jo Fisher

Would you go into business with a friend?  Jo Fisher is the Founder and CEO of Footlights, a performing arts company, which has 17 franchises and works with schools across the north of England.  She got into business at a ridiculously young age. As a young child she used to sit in the entrance to her house and sell items her neighbours no longer wanted to make money for sweets. She left school at 14 to work full-time and launched her first business, an underwear business, when she was just 18. When it started to grow she decided to bring in her best friend as a partner…and that’s when things started to go wrong.  What happened? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
15/09/22·12m 56s

The Newsette's Daniella Pierson on how to prove your haters wrong

Daniella Pierson is the CEO and Founder of the Newsette, a women-focused newsletter which she started when she was at university at just 19 years old. Now 27, she was recently named by Forbes as one of the wealthiest women of colour in the United States.  The newsletter now has more than 500,000 subscribers, whilst revenue grew from $1million in 2019 to $40 million in 2021. Within the company she also started a creative agency, Newland, which works with Fortune 500 brands. According to Inc., the Newsette is the16th most successful company in America, based on its growth over the last three years of over 16,000%.  Last year, Daniella, who has ADHD, OCD, and depression, co-founded mental health company Wondermind with Selena Gomez and Selena’s mother Mandy Teefey. It was recently valued at 100 million dollars.  But Daniella did not grow up believing she could make it as an entrepreneur. She used all the ways people brought her down to fuel her desire to make her business a success but says there were many times she nearly didn’t make it.  Find out how she did it.  *This episode contains references to suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is affected by these or other issues Daniella speaks about you can get help in the UK by visiting samaritans.org* -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
13/09/22·56m 6s

How I failed: “When people try to take things off you, you gotta fight back!” with Natterjack Whisky Founder Aidan Mehigan

For this episode of ‘How I Failed’ we follow the story of Aidan Mehigan’s fight to save his business, as it happened. We first spoke to Aidan earlier this year when he was in the middle of a fundraise and court battle to keep control of his whisky business. When growing his company in 2018, Natterjack Whisky, Aidan had taken out a convertible loan note to fund his business. Then Covid hit, by the end of 2021, cash was low, their sales were almost non-existent on the international market and the Irish market just wasn’t big enough to support them.  The convertible loan note holder wanted their money, and Aidan couldn’t pay it back… What happened? Listen to find out.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: quickbooks.co.uk/secretleaders
08/09/22·16m 7s

THIS Co-Founder shares secret to making plant-based food that doesn’t suck - Andy Shovel

THIS is currently the fastest-growing meat alternative brand in the UK. After launching in 2019, it was recently valued at £150 million. But Co-Founders Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman didn’t always want to help people eat less meat. In fact, before THIS they ran a successful beef burger company.  Andy knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur from a young age and sold his first business at 21. But far from feeling proud of himself, he really struggled. He hardly left his room for three weeks. Surrounded by friends in stable jobs, he felt lonely, scared that he didn’t know what to do next. A chance visit to a new restaurant startup gave him the direction he needed, he would go into the “rock and roll” world of food. THIS definitely pushes the boundaries. Their early traction, says Andy, came from their PR stunts. In 2021, they did a takeover of the town of Quorn, rumoured to be where the meat-free brand, their main competitor, got its name from. THIS sponsored the football team, the pubs, the bingo hall…even the branded paper in the fish and chip shop. They’ve done a deep-fake of the Queen’s speech and got an Ed Sheeran look-alike to hand out chicken nuggets. But not all campaigns have gone to plan…one stunt saw Special Branch raid their offices and Andy almost taken away! Find out why and what Andy has learnt as a people leader taking a business from £0 to £17 million in revenue in three years.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
06/09/22·58m 54s

What it was really like building Apple with Steve Jobs, with Founder & CEO of FNDR James Vincent

James Vincent has helped develop brands for some of the biggest companies in the world. For 11 years he met Steve Jobs every week to come up with some of the iconic campaigns for Apple’s products. And then to launch the very first iPhone, James started Media Arts Lab, Apple’s exclusive brand agency, along with Lee Clow and other co-founders, which he ran for over eight years. For someone who had a big part to play in constructing Apple’s narrative, James Vincent is a relatively unknown figure. Maybe because he hasn't ever really put himself in the spotlight. He can be pretty self-deprecating about his career but he’s helped some absolute icons. As well as Steve Jobs, he’s worked with Brian Chesky at AirBnB and in his most recent company FNDR he’s working with the next generation of unicorns. Clients have included Evan Spiegal at Snapchap and José Neves at Farfetch.  Find out how a young boy from Sheffield ended up in the inner circle of some of the world's most iconic brands.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
30/08/22·1h 11m

SumUp: how to stumble into building an €8b company, with Co-Founder Marc-Alexander Christ

How much of your success is down to luck?  Marc-Alexander Christ is the Co-Founder of SumUp, which was recently valued at €8b. He says being in the right place at the right time was a big factor in him starting the company.  SumUp is a fintech best known for supplying card readers to small businesses so they can take payments. You may have seen them, and have probably used them because they work with over four million merchants worldwide.  It hasn’t always gone their way though. As well as some early mistakes that could have proved fatal, they were initially hit hard by the pandemic, which saw their revenue drop around 80% almost overnight. Find out how they managed to adapt and how Marc says you can make the most of the luck you get dealt in life.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
23/08/22·51m 53s

Octopus Energy: how to run a massive company with no HR function, with Founder and CEO Greg Jackson

Greg Jackson started Octopus Energy, a green energy supplier, in 2015. Since then it has enjoyed huge growth. It is now the fourth largest energy retailer in the UK, supplying over 3 million homes in the country, as well as homes in Germany, the USA, Japan, Spain, Italy, France and New Zealand. They were valued at nearly 5 billion dollars at the end of 2021.  Greg is clearly passionate about climate change and says he went into business to drive change. Octopus Energy is a fascinating business, not only because of its growth in a highly competitive industry but also because Greg has rejected traditional business structures. Despite having three and a half thousand staff, Octopus Energy has no HR department.  Listen to find out why he wanted to create a completely new organisational structure; how that system coped when an unprecedented event like the pandemic happened; and what is it like being the CEO of an energy supplier during an energy crisis.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
16/08/22·47m 56s

Little Moons: how to become an overnight success - in 12 years, with Co-Founder Vivien Wong

Going viral is something many businesses would kill for but having to scale up your business to meet rocketing demand is not easy.  Little Moons makes mochi ice cream, a type of Japanese rice cake with an ice cream filling. Vivien Wong co-founded the business with her brother in 2010 after spending two years developing the product with her father in her parents' bakery. Over the next decade the company grew steadily and surely, until the company went viral on TikTok during the pandemic and sales suddenly rocketed. However, after being hit by supply chain woes and Brexit, they had hardly any stock left to meet the demand.  Listen to find out how they got through it and grew their revenue from 7 to 27 million in just two years.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
09/08/22·48m 37s

How I failed: Launching a website no one visited with Founder Chris Donnelly

Last year Chris sold a creative marketing agency he’d founded called Verb and he’s now the Co-Founder of Lottie, which just raised £6 million on a £45 million valuation. But before these successes, he experienced failure with his website the Real Uni Guide, which aimed to match students with the right universities for them. Along with his co-founder brother, he spent over a year building the website but when they launched, hardly anyone visited.  Find out what happened and what Chris learnt from this failure that defined his career.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: yotpo.com/secret
04/08/22·13m 10s

Sweatcoin: how to turn your worst moments into your best, with Co-Founder Oleg Fomenko

What makes you want to exercise? Would you do it more if you were paid to do it? Oleg Fomenko thinks we aren’t naturally disposed to want to exercise, that we have evolved to preserve our store of calories rather than spend them. So, he built Sweatcoin, along with his Co-Founder Anton Derlyatka, an app that will literally pay you for taking steps outside. Specifically it will pay you a certain amount of ‘sweatcoin’ for every thousand steps you take. This digital currency can then be switched for products, as well as their new cryptocurrency, SWEAT. Oleg came up with Sweatcoin in 2015 when he was struggling to find the motivation to exercise after his startup, a music streaming service called Bloom.fm, suddenly went under. Recovering from the end of that company also led him to a key realisation that he says is important for every entrepreneur to know. And it must work, because Sweatcoin is growing fast. It currently has over 100 millions users, and has no signs of slowing down.  Listen to find out: how the current war in Ukraine is affecting him as a Russian-born entrepreneur; why cryptocurrencies are going to change the face of Sweatcoin; and what advice he would give to other entrepreneurs that want to replicate his success. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
02/08/22·58m 24s

How I failed: the gym business which went under, with Shares Co-Founder Benjamin Chemla

Benjamin Chemla has been an entrepreneur for over a decade. He co-founded the massive on-demand delivery service Stuart in 2015 and currently he is the Co-Founder and CEO of Shares, a just-launched app which makes investing a social experience.  But between his successes, there was a high profile failure. Benjamin founded a group of gyms in New York City called Fithouse in 2017. Everything started great, classes running on everything from yoga to boxing. Investors had put up $10 million and he was turning a profit. But then came the pandemic… Find out what happened next and why Benjamin decided it was better to walk away than stay and fight.  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it. What would make the show better? hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: yotpo.com/secret
28/07/22·13m 30s

Fanbytes: from growing up poor to selling for millions at 27, with Co-Founder Timothy Armoo

What were you doing at 17? When he was that age, Timothy Armoo had already sold his first startup. Now 27, he has just sold his second startup, Fanbytes, a social media and influencer marketing agency, to digital advertising company, Brainlabs, for eight figures. Timothy, or Timo as he is known, grew up on a council estate in Hackney and it was the realisation that he was poor when he was a teenager that motivated him to become an entrepreneur. He started Fanbytes with his co-founders in 2017 and the company, which connects social media influencers to big brands, has gone on to employ 65 people.  Part of the work Fanbytes does, finding up-and-coming influencers, is done by its algorithm, built by Co-Founder Ambrose Cooke - meaning that Fanbytes can sign potential talent before anyone else.  We talked about: What happened after he lost almost half the money he got selling his first business in just three months What a lead gangster told him that helped him as an entrepreneur How the death of his father in his early twenties was a pivotal moment in deciding how he was going to grow Fanbytes How he doesn’t feel his next business has to be bigger than his previous one What advice he has for other young entrepreneurs…you might be surprised by what he says! -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
26/07/22·56m 31s

How I failed: not able to pay suppliers, staff or my mortgage with Founder Matt Jones

Finding investment is a necessity for many entrepreneurs, but things don’t always work out the way they're supposed to.  Matt Jones started his business Rubix Advertising in 2009, with the help of an investor. It started well and the business, a full service media advertising company, grew quickly. But only two years later, Matt had to close his business down. What happened? And how did he turn that failure into a seven figure success story?  Listen to find out. If you have any feedback, we want to hear it. What would make the show better? Email us at hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: yotpo.com/secret
21/07/22·13m 23s

The man who predicted the rise of the influencer, with Gleam Futures Founder Dom Smales

Dom Smales is the exited Founder of Gleam Futures, which was one of the first social media talent agencies in the world - and the first in the UK.  When Gleam was founded back in 2010, influencers weren’t even a thing, but Dom saw the potential power bloggers could have. He went on to play a big part in the rise of the first Youtube stars, like Zoe Sugg, better known as Zoella; Tanya Burr; and the Pixiwoo sisters, Sam and Nicola Chapman.  Dom exited in 2020 but it wasn't what he thought it would be. We talk about: What it was like being the agent for the UK’s biggest social media stars His tips on how to manage a successful exit, Dom left the company in 2021 Why selling your company might not be all you hope for What he really thinks of the influencer industry today -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
19/07/22·47m 10s

How I failed: “I didn’t actually believe in the business, I just wanted to work for myself”, with Founder Amelia Sordell

Today, Amelia Sordell runs a booming personal branding agency called Klowt, but back in 2015, aged 21, she had just founded Eitherside, a fashion brand for women who wanted to dress up for a night out - but without the luxury price tag.  Only eight months after starting the company, Amelia was faced with taking out a loan she would have to personally guarantee, or shutting it down. She chose the latter.  Listen to find out what went wrong, and how she finally overcame that failure after nearly ten years.   ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
14/07/22·13m 11s

Dan Murray-Serter, Chapter 3: ‘I’d decided life was meaningless’ - my battle with bulimia, anxiety, depression and insomnia

You wouldn’t sign up for a terrible experience but they’re a breeding ground for the best stories, and the most personal growth. It’s no different for today’s guest and the usual host of Secret Leaders, Dan Murray-Serter, who opens up about his biggest traumas… which became the biggest turning points in his life. This is the third chapter in our semi-regular series with Dan. If you haven’t listened to the first or second it’s worth doing that now because you’ll understand the periods he’s talking about in this episode.  Dan today has become pretty synonymous with the mental health space. His VC backed startup Heights is trying to create a new category of braincare - but he wasn’t always like this. In fact, he didn’t even think he had mental health issues despite having had a shopping list of problems over the years. When the penny dropped for Dan, it dropped hard. Find out what Dan went through - and what he learnt about how to spend your time on this earth. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
12/07/22·52m 28s

How I failed: “We were so convinced that we were among the few that would make it to IPO”, with multi-exit entrepreneur Touraj Parang

Touraj Parang today has multiple exits under his belt, has sat on both sides of the deal table - and has written a book literally called "Exit Path: How to Win the Startup End Game". But the reason he’s become such an authority on exits is what we’re discussing today - his failed startup Jaxtr. Jaxtr was a way to make phone calls over the internet in the period 2005 - 2009, before stuff like Whatsapp calling was really a thing. They’d done really well according to some metrics - they had 10 million users but then their world collapsed. Find out what happened and what Touraj learnt from it. ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
07/07/22·13m 23s

GoHenry: Creating a new category with other parents after kids racked up bills, with Co-Founder & COO Louise Hill

Louise Hill is the Co-Founder and COO of GoHenry, a debit card and financial education app for children which has two million users. The starting point for Louise was noticing her kids buying stuff on iTunes without her permission. She then found out other children were spending money on all sorts of things without them or their parents realising it. So, after chatting with two dads whose kids went to the same school, they decided to do something about it.  This is the story of how Louise turned GoHenry into a category creator - and they’re now taking on the US. We talk about: The difference between an entrepreneur and not The problem with children and money The origin story of GoHenry What she learnt from her first startup failure  How she met her two co-founders The last woman standing Handling pressure -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
05/07/22·47m 33s

How I failed: “I didn’t want to tell them I’ve reached the end of my rope”, with journalist Emma Gunavardhana

Emma Gunavardhana, or Emma Guns as she’s often known started her career with a bang. She landed her dream job early doors - editing OK Magazine back when that was a really big deal. But when she left the comfort of that job to make it as a solopreneur, everything went to pot.  Wind forward four years and Emma was at her lowest ebb, considering selling her car and moving back in with her parents at the age of 38 - a has-been who couldn’t make it in London. Find out what happened and what she learnt is the key to pulling yourself out of the abyss. ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
30/06/22·12m 52s

What3Words: Why an injury can be the best thing to happen to you, with Co-Founder & CEO Chris Sheldrick

We normally can’t see it at the time but bad things often play a critical role in good things happening. As Steve Jobs famously said, it’ll make sense looking backwards. This is exactly what happened to Chris Sheldrick who had plans to be a professional bassoonist but a freak injury changed the course of life. Chris is now the Co-Founder and CEO of What3Words, an alarmingly simple solution to a complex problem you didn’t know we had - addresses. Lots of places don’t have addresses - like a barge on a canal, or a spot on a mountainside. This makes it difficult to deliver or do things at those addresses so Chris’s solution was to turn the world into 57 trillion 3-metre squares and give each of those squares a three word name, e.g. house, dog, car. But it’s one thing haven’t a genius idea. It’s another thing executing on it. Find out how Chris has done it. We talk about: Why a young kid would play the bassoon  How sleepwalking can go wrong Why being polarising is good  How to raise funds Using What3Words to help in disasters The business model -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
28/06/22·46m 38s

How I failed: short-form video platform that got crushed by TikTok, with Jess Butcher MBE

Ok, ok - it’s not all about your name or your competitors - but Jess Butcher was kicking herself when she came across TikTok shortly after launching Tick.Done. with her Co-Founders in 2018.  Tick.Done. was also a short form video platform which made things confusing. Jess’s friends regularly congratulated her on her success, only for Jess to admit that TikTok, the thing they were hearing about everywhere, wasn’t her business. And pretty quickly it was the end for them. Jess is a legend - you just want to talk to her - and she’s a top entrepreneur. But this is her failure story. Find out what happened and what she learnt from it.   Feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Sponsor links: yotpo.com
23/06/22·13m 11s

How I failed: the non-alcoholic drink which got pulled from the shelves, with Richard Clark, Founder of Drynks

Richard Clark is now the Founder and MD of Drynks, a non-alcoholic drinks business which raised money on Dragons Den and is growing strongly. But a few years ago he launched another non alcoholic drink, Iron Press, which had a very different outcome.  Having enjoyed huge success at Halewood International with Crabbie’s Ginger Beer, Richard and his team found it easy to get into retailers, but it was then the problems started. Find out what went wrong and what he learnt from it.  ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
16/06/22·11m 58s

How I failed: 37 jobs by the age of 24, with Krisi Smith, Founder of Bird & Blend

We’ve all made mistakes. Many of us have had short-lived jobs. And many of us have been fired. But getting through 37 jobs by the time you’re 24 is quite a haul.  That’s what happened to Krisi Smith, the Founder of Bird & Blend, a booming tea company. But before she found her groove, she found she couldn’t hold down a job. This is the story of what happened and what she learnt from it. ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
09/06/22·11m 7s

Beyond: shorting your rival’s stock for $700m but losing the war, with Founder & CEO Ian Strang

80% to 90% of startups fail. But what those stats don't tell you is how you can do loads of things right and still fail. This is what happened to Ian Strang and the company he founded, Beyond, who tried to shake up the death industry - offering price comparisons, wills, funerals, probate - those kinds of things. They certainly managed to do that. They landed some blows, but ultimately they lost the war. This is Ian’s story, told a few months after his company failed.  He and his team came up with some ingenious ideas which led to press, shorting stocks and ultimately the regulation of the death industry itself. But that’s not how things ended. We talk about: The demanding childhood which shaped his life His first startup Meeting Alan Sugar’s son Quitting Pollen because it was too much fun The bizarre circumstance for first pitching Beyond The problem with monetising death How to grow through SEO The April fool’s joke that yielded big publicity Shorting Dignity for $700m How to get the CMA on your side What is a bad advert anyway Auctioning your company The reality of being an entrepreneur  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
07/06/22·57m 42s

How I failed: Chris Cabrera on getting fired, getting pissed, and getting even

By the time he was 37, Chris Cabrera had managed his career very well. He was a leader in a public company - and he knew what strategy the company should take to seize the future. But then he got fired.  This is the story of what happened and what he did next.  ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - if you want to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
02/06/22·12m 37s

How the fat kid did it: Vikas Shah MBE on getting over obesity shame and suicide attempts - and what people get wrong about entrepreneurship

Vikas Shah MBE looks like the picture of success today. He’s got an MBE. He advises the government on business matters. He’s an NED, investor - he’s someone you look up to. But it wasn’t always like this.  He was a fat kid at school, and when he realised he was obese - was disgusted by himself. He lost his identity when his first business failed.  He tried to commit suicide four times. The last one got very close to succeeding. But we’re here talking with Vikas-the-success today, and that’s because his story is ultimately about resilience. Find out how you can develop your own mental strength, because, as Vikas explains, it’s really on you. We talk about: Growing up as a fat kid Starting his first business at 14 What you really learn from failure Suicide attempts Where resilience comes from Delegating responsibility for mental health Common traits in successful people -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
31/05/22·49m 20s

How I failed: Alex Farrell on winding down her startup after taking on a new industry

Alex Farrell is a successful entrepreneur, NED and investor but amongst the successes, there have also been some losses.  Alex founded Gift Wink in 2015, a platform where users could get timely and excellent gift ideas. So when your Mum’s birthday was coming up, you’d actually get her something awesome which arrived on time. That was the idea anyway, but four years later, after pushing against headwinds, Alex was forced to let the staff go and close the business. Find out what happened… ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - if you want to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
26/05/22·13m 27s

Tackling a problem that will affect half the planet as a first-time Founder, with Vira Health Co-Founder Andrea Berchowitz

Andrea Berchowitz is the Co-Founder of Vira Health, a tech startup taking on problems in women’s health, starting with menopause. Andrea worked at McKinsey and then the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but this is her first time as a Founder. What’s tougher than she expected? What’s surprised her about the switch? And what would she advise others thinking of making the move? Plus we discuss: How to pick what to do with your career   The reality of menopause Stereotypes of engineers  The kind of work that’s difficult to do remotely How to manage people Feedback isn’t what people think it is  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
24/05/22·51m 13s

How I failed: Giles Harrison quit his job to start his own thing but hit a big reality check

Giles Harrison, the Co-Founder of Sculpd, is riding high now but his first startup ground to a painful halt.  Having quit his job in a bullish mood to found a matcha tea business, he soon found out how difficult startups are - and how much more difficult physical goods businesses are compared to digital ones. Find out how he failed - what went wrong - and what he learnt from it.  ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - if you want to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
19/05/22·13m 8s

The Sandbox: wtf is the metaverse and how will it change the world, with Co-Founder and COO Sebastien Borget

So you’ve heard people talking about the metaverse and have been wondering what they’re on about? You think you get it one minute but then someone else says something and you’re none the wiser? Yeah, sounds about right. This is why we’re pumped to be interviewing Sebastien Borger, the Co-Founder and COO of The Sandbox, who are a market leader in the metaverse. The Sandbox is the place where brands like Starbucks, Gucci and Nike have been buying virtual land so they can deliver experiences to their fans.  Sebastien is a serial entrepreneur who’s always been obsessed with the idea of making his own games and turning players into owners. After three successful startups, he’s on the brink of greatness with The Sandbox, but the chances of them ending up one of the ultimate winners of the metaverse is still very small. How many of the early internet businesses are around today? It didn’t work out for the likes of Napster, Yahoo and MySpace. Will it work out for The Sandbox?  We talk about: What you learn as a serial Founder Why meta isn’t a threat Why don’t we take digital ownership seriously Turning players into owners When will The Sandbox go mainstream? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
17/05/22·27m 44s

How I failed: Amanda Perry went bankrupt after losing her baking business

Amanda Perry tells us what it’s like to go bankrupt after flying high with her baking business. She’d been featured in Vogue; her cupcakes were flying off the shelves - she thought business was easy. Until it wasn’t, and it was her who was personally on the hook… How do you even go bankrupt from starting a company? What impact does it have on you? And how do you recover from something like that?  Amanda’s now the successful Founder of Soup Agency but this is a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about starting a business. ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - if you want to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
12/05/22·15m 15s

Outbrain: closing a funding round with gunfire in the background -Co-Founder & Co-CEO Yaron Galai

It’s pretty rare that investors have to ask the Founder they’re speaking to if they’re in a warzone, or insist they have to leave their country for somewhere a little more ‘peaceful’ but that’s exactly what happened to Yaron Galai, the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Outbrain. Yaron was a captain in the Israeli Navy before smashing it out the park with a few startups he founded.  Yaron’s latest company Outbrain (founded in 2006) is one you may not have heard of but you’ve probably used - they power recommended articles on loads of the world’s top news sites.  They nearly merged with their biggest competitor (Taboola) a year ago only for that deal to not work out and float instead on the Nasdaq for $1.25 billion.  As Yaron says, an exit is a great outcome but a terrible plan, so what was his plan? How has he got multiple exits under his belt? What are the secrets to his success?  We talk about: The struggle for funding Israeli military/life/work balance Parents investing to make sure their children got paid Exiting for $400m  Why it’s easier to make acquisitions when you’re public -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
10/05/22·56m 50s

How I failed: Steve Witt on losing everything… twice

Steve Witt knows what it’s like to make a lot of money… and lose it all. He knows what it’s like to go from sipping mai tais on the proverbial Caribbean island to sleeping on your mate’s sofa because you’ve got nowhere else to go. And he’s gone through that twice. Find out what happened and how he picked himself up again. ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor - if you want to grow your ecommerce business: yotpo.com/secret
05/05/22·12m 18s

BorrowMyDoggy: how to get people to trust strangers, with Founder and CEO Rikke Rosenlund

BorrowMyDoggy is the kind of brand that just sticks in your brain. Once you’ve heard it you can’t unhear it.  Today we’re talking with its Founder and CEO Rikke Rosenlund who had an idyllic Danish childhood but still doesn’t own a dog. Find out how she built the company bit by bit - and how they're helping the 25% of dogs who are depressed. We talk about: What your parents say behind your back The issues with dog care in the UK People finding love through pet sitting Real reason women founders get less funding -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
03/05/22·41m 36s

How I failed: Trinny Woodall on the fall of her first internet startup

This is the first episode in our new bitesize series (10/15-minute episodes) dedicated to failure. Trinny Woodall’s an A-lister now, and the Founder of Trinny London, but before all the success she experienced a soul-crushing failure around the dotcom boom. Find out what happened, what she learnt from it - and how you should think about failure. ... We'd love your feedback: hello@secretleaders.com  Check out Yotpo, our exclusive sponsor: yotpo.com/secret
28/04/22·12m 56s

Finimize: what you should’ve been taught in school about personal finance, with the FTSE 100’s youngest Exec and Founder/CEO Max Rofagha

What we’re taught at schools is a real pet peeve here at Secret Leaders. Why are we mucking about learning Latin when we could be learning about stuff like nutrition and personal finance - genuinely useful subjects that will help us lead happier, more fulfilling lives? That’s what Max Rofagha thought when, after exiting his previous startup, he didn’t know what to do with his new found wealth. The content on the internet, the advice he was getting, just didn’t cut it - so he founded Finimize. Their idea is to help more ‘ordinary people’, i.e. retail investors (not professional investors) do more with their money, and the company has done pretty well. They were bought last year by Aberdeen (abrdn), making Max the youngest Exec of a FTSE 100 company.  How has he done it? What has he learnt about business building that’s delivered two exits from two companies? Let’s dive in… We talk about: What Berlin used to be like Why you should grow up with computers What you should do with your savings Why people don’t understand finance Considering VC funding or bootstrapping How they exited - like, really -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
26/04/22·1h 1m

Tripadvisor: how to lead a company for 22 years, with Founder and CEO Steve Kaufer

If you’ve been on holiday - if you’ve been anywhere you’ve Googled - you’ve probably used Tripadvisor. It’s just one of those names synonymous with the internet, and it’s not just because their SEO has been amazing - they’ve been going for 22 years.  Extraordinarily it’s had the same person leading it all this time - Steve Kaufer, who’s finally stepping down this year.  Tripadvisor has been through a variety of management changes along the way, which have forced Steve to adapt but he’s still here, although not for much longer. Find out why now’s the time he’s leaving. We talk about: The unlikely birth of Tripadvisor The difference between hindsight and wisdom How to handle a business which loses 90% of its revenue  The most renewed thing on Tripadvisor How to manage change in company ownership  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
19/04/22·1h

MasterClass: how to get over a stutter and attract A-listers like Anna Wintour and Martin Scorsese, with Founder & CEO David Rogier

When you’re first dreaming up a business idea, you imagine it at its best - as if your execution was perfect and your resources unlimited. When your friends ask at a dinner party, you say you’ll have Gordon Ramsey teaching cooking and Christina Aguilera teaching singing. Your friends laugh, you cheers each other - and carry on with your meal. But in the case of today’s guest, David Rogier, he’s turned that dream into a reality. Everyone thought he was mad, and pointed it out to him at various stages, but here we are with MasterClass, valued at $2.75b last year according to CNBC - and with the craziest line up of teachers you’ll ever see in one place.  How has David pulled it off?  And all this from a man who was bullied as a child over his stutter.  We talk about: His grandparents meeting in Auschwitz Getting over his stutter How to choose which business to launch How he started Masterclass The real art of storytelling The hardest things he’s ever done Why he kept going when everybody told him to stop -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
12/04/22·57m 42s

Summit: how to pull off insane ideas like buying a ski resort - with Co-Founder Elliott Bisnow

How do you buy a ski mountain? How much does it cost? And how do you turn it into the biggest ski resort in North America - Powder Mountain? That’s the kind of thing we wanted to know when we sat down with Elliott Bisnow, who shot to startup fame as Co-Founder of Summit, a now legendary events series which attracted speakers like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Jessica Alba. He’s now the proud Co-Founder of Powder Mountain which is insanely cool. And not bad for a college dropout, although, to be fair, that’s now a pretty common trend on this podcast: drop out of university to start something and make it big. We have a lot of dreamers on this show but Elliott’s dreams are legitimately crazy. Find out how he turns them into a reality and: The book that changed his life Homeschool Building a business with your Dad The tiny first Summit event The real value of co-founders Buying Powder Mountain The most difficult feedback to hear -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
05/04/22·1h 1m

“He offered me $1m and I was much more interested in that than being sued again” - Kieran O'Neill, Co-Founder and CEO of Thread

It’s not often you meet real life prodigies but Kieran O’Neill might just be one. By the time he was 19 he’d been sued by Disney and his company had been bought by Carl Page, the brother of Google Co-Founder Larry Page. And then he dropped out of university to start another successful business, because, why not? “At that point I discovered what I want to do for the rest of my life - build things. And I began building a tool that would track which of my housemates was best at a particular game.” Today Kieran is the Co-Founder and CEO of Thread.com, a place where you can get clothes that actually suit and fit you - a reaction to the typical online shopping experience which often results in loads of returns. Plus, plenty of people don’t back their own style - including Kieran.  “I keep a text file with various ideas in. And at this point had about 10 that were on not a shortlist, but a medium shortlist. Nine of them were for other people, problems they had but problems I didn't have personally. The problem I had myself was that I wanted to dress well and have good clothes, but found shopping to be really frustrating.” Find out how he took this personal problem and turned it into high growth business.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
29/03/22·57m 36s

How to come up with the right business idea - Dan Murray-Serter, Chapter 2

Building a successful startup is about lots of things but a tonne of people get the first step wrong - picking the right business to launch. So how do you pick the right one? Well, our host and the Co-Founder of Heights Dan Murray-Serter is in the hot seat today answering that very question.  This is the second episode in our semi-regular series with Dan, showing what it’s really like to be a Founder, warts and all. The first episode was released on January 18 and we left things at a critical point for Dan and his Co-Founder Joel. Dan wasn’t motivated by what his company had pivoted into. They wanted to give the money back to investors. But things didn’t go the way they planned… -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
22/03/22·1h 1m

Motorway: How to combine the best of bootstrapped and VC-backed thinking in one startup, with Co-Founder & CEO Tom Leathes

One of the extraordinary things about the startup ecosystem is the kind of company that gets celebrated. Most of the time, they don’t make money. They bounce from one funding round to the next, and only a tiny % eventually make it. They’re the kinds of businesses that would’ve made our grandparents shake their heads. Today’s guest, Tom Leathes, the Co-Founder and CEO of used car marketplace Motorway, is different. The first few companies he built were bootstrapped, profitable and he sold them for more money. Which is basically how business worked for centuries. But then Tom found himself leading a VC-backed startup and things didn’t go so well. It was the first time he and his Co-Founders had failed. So after that experience they re-set and they’ve come back fighting with another VC-backed business, Motorway, which was just valued at over a billion pounds. Find out about the key learnings that have made him successful - and lead to a different outcome for Motorway. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
15/03/22·1h 1m

Pip & Nut: How to take your business from your kitchen table to most major supermarkets, with Founder & CEO Pip Murray

If you’re in the UK and you like your peanut butter, you’ve probably come across Pip & Nut, the brand named after its Founder and today’s guest, Pip Murray. Pip started the business when she was 24, at her kitchen table, with a blender and some nuts.  But plenty of people start businesses like that so what makes her special? How has she managed it?  Oh, and we’ve also got the return of the king, Rich Martell, Co-Founder of Secret Leaders, who went to university with Pip and was one of her early investors. He couldn’t resist the chance to join Dan in the interview chair - and so he could ask Pip the difficult questions. Like how do you actually get your product listed at Tescos?  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
08/03/22·49m 28s

Ukrainian Founder Aleksandr Volodarsky on running a company in wartime

It’s amazing how important business seems until something really important happens, like a war breaks out. For Aleksandr Volodarsky, Founder of Lemon.io, which connects companies with software engineers, although he and his colleagues had gotten used to operating in a conflict situation since 2014, he was still stunned when Russia invaded. And the most useful thing he can do now is to keep the business going so it can support the war effort - including his employees who’ve gone off to fight.  Find out what it’s like in his shoes right now. What’s going on with his team. What’s it like on the ground. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
04/03/22·47m 46s

MedMen: what went wrong at the cannabis industry’s first unicorn, with Founder and former CEO Adam Bierman

Look, we’re going to tell you straight - this is a blinding episode - and that’s because we’re talking to a man who is unflinchingly honest about his Founder experience. On the outside it looked like Adam Bierman had it all. He was the Co-Founder and CEO of MedMen, a cult phenomenon and the world’s first cannabis unicorn. They were seen as the Apple of weed and they looked unstoppable.  But in 2019, a year after hitting its all time high on the Canadian stock market, the company had lost 95% of its value. Adam’s personal wealth was also up in smoke because he hadn’t listened to his advisors - instead of diversifying his assets, he’d bought even more MedMen stock. And then came the lawsuits. Adam is no longer with the company and was in a reflective mood when he sat down with Dan. So what on earth happened? Why did he leave the company? And what has he learnt from all of this?  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
01/03/22·55m 4s

DesignMyNight Co-Founder Nick Telson on gay shame and taking the business to exit… exactly as they planned

What’s particularly shocking about Nick Telson’s success with DesignMyNight is how deliberate it all seemed. They set themselves a target each year, achieved it and moved onto the next one until they’d hit the numbers they needed for the exit they wanted. How many businesses do that? And it was the first startup he’d ever founded… Nick explains how they sold the business - the actual steps they took - which isn’t a process that most people know about unless they’ve been lucky enough to go through an exit themselves. And in classic startup style, it looked like the whole deal was going to collapse on the day of signing until an unlikely hero stepped up. Since exiting DesignMyNight, Nick has founded Horseplay Ventures, and more recently Trumpet, a mixture of Squarespace and Canva and Slack for sales decks. It sounds like something I would use, tbf. Despite his success, throughout his time leading DesignMyNight, Nick kept one aspect of himself relatively hidden - his sexuality. Find out why and what he’s doing about it now.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
08/02/22·49m 29s

How to go from a side hustle to a multi-billion market leader, with Houzz CEO & Co-Founder Adi Tatarko

It’s the stuff entrepreneurs dream of. Houzz, a marketplace for home renovations, evolved from an evenings and weekends passion project into a multi-billion dollar company with investors queuing up to get a slice of their proverbial pie. So how did the two Co-Founders, husband and wife Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen, do it? “I think, in retrospect, delaying it and bootstrapping it, the way we bootstrapped it without even understanding that this is what it is back then helped us tremendously down the road.” “Go invest the first six months and validate and see that this idea can really scale, people will really use it, you're really invested in it, and you really love it. And then you will not need to prove these things to investors.” Find out how they secured an investment from legendary investor Mike Moritz in a matter of days - and what they did next to dominate their category. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
01/02/22·48m 25s

When your mental health forces you to leave the company you’ve just started - with Faire Co-Founder & COO Jeffrey Kolovson

Life is the sum of your choices, says Jeffrey Kolovson, COO and Co-Founder of Faire, an online wholesale marketplace for retailers and brands. At the end of the day, it’s not what you say, it's what you do and the choices you make and the accumulation of those over time that matters.  “I once had a mentor tell me that the prize for winning the donut eating competition is more donuts. And that kind of stuck with me, as things don't necessarily get easier. And the more you do, the more you have to do.” Jeff isn’t one for taking the easy route. He’s made quite a few interesting choices over the years. Like the time he had to build 60 futons in 36 hours, or the time he left Square to start Faire only to have to leave Faire in its infancy, before returning once more to Faire a few years later.  Now, having just raised $400 million in their last funding round off the back of a $12.4 billion valuation, why did Jeff have to leave Faire in the first place? Well, for very good reason - to protect his mental health. “And so you both have to one: figure out how to be at peace with the unrelenting nature of it and two: how you don't let it overwhelm you at any given time. One of the tricks I do is that I like to think about the problems from a year ago or two years ago, how quaint they seem to me now.” The thing is, says Jeff, when you put your head down and work hard, you have to be able to enjoy it. There has to be enough about what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with, that you derive enjoyment from what you’re doing, otherwise, what’s the point? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
25/01/22·47m 58s

“He threatened to kill my parents and I had to get a restraining order” - the real Dan Murray-Serter, Chapter 1

Cocaine, £1,000 on roulette, sleeping with the client, a boss demanding bail out of a Malaysian prison, a restraining order - and that’s just one of the stories in this special episode where we turn the microphone on our host, Dan Murray-Serter. This is the start of a semi-regular series where we interview Dan roughly every three months because:  If you listen to the podcast regularly we thought you might want to get to know him better. Who is this guy in your ears every week? Dan is the Founder of braincare startup Heights so we thought we could grill him every 3 months so you can find out what it’s really like in the Founder hot seat - warts and all. This episode is focused on the early part of Dan’s career - a period when Dan learned how he wanted to lead - from bad bosses. Dan grew up with an entrepreneur of a father - and saw the toll it took on him. It wasn’t a life Dan wanted, so what eventually convinced him to take the plunge into entrepreneurship? “Entrepreneurship is a bit of a drug. And the scariest part of it always is and always has been leaving my job to do this full time, that was always the scariest part, because there's no, you know, there was no safety net.” What was Grabble, Dan’s previous startup? Why did it fail? How did he get invited to Buckingham Palace? Who did he joke about to make the Queen laugh? And why did Brexit kill Grabble? “I mean, the thing is, it is quite a long story, because sadly, what we should have done is pull the cord. And we didn't do that, we did death by 1,000 paper cuts.” -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
18/01/22·47m 16s

“By the end of 2015 we were just about out of money” - and now they’re worth $4B. How did Vuori do it, with CEO & Founder Joe Kudla

Having grown up poor, Founder and CEO of Vuori Joe Kudla always wondered what it would be like to have money and go on holiday, so he spent the first chapter of his career proving to himself that he could make money. But then he started to make life decisions differently. “I see myself on my deathbed. And I am coming to terms with that moment, am I going to look back and feel like I went for it, like I seized the day? Did I live a life in alignment with my passions, my heart, my interests? Or did I take the safe path?” In 2013 he founded Vuori, an activewear brand initially aimed at men. They nearly ran out of money in 2015, but a few pivots and several years later Vuori is worth $4b and launching in the UK this spring.  How has Joe done it in such a competitive industry? How has he done it having raised a pittance compared to his rivals? And why is clarity the ultimate currency? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
11/01/22·42m 53s

Curve: Building an $800m FinTech after being laughed out of the room by Mastercard, with CEO & Founder, Shachar Bialick

Curve CEO and founder Shachar Bialick is a multi-exit entrepreneur with a background in the Israeli Defense Force special forces. “There's a joke in Israel: how do you win a competition in racing? You start as fast as you can, and you slowly increase the pace.” Curve brings all your credit cards and debit cards into one app and card. The idea first came to Shachar in 2006, but he knew that launching a business is all about timing.  And so he waited until 2014 to pick it back up, when he knew the world was ready. After creating a proof of concept in 2015, and raising the first series seed funding of £1.2m in 2015, Shachar launched Curve in 2016. “When we [first] went to MasterCard and told them about what we’re trying to do and the vision we have, we were laughed out of the room, literally they said, ‘Have you opened the MasterCard rules?’” So how did he rack up 4 exits? How big can Curve really be? And why is he using Amazon, Netflix and Spotify to validate his mission? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
04/01/22·48m 17s

NetSuite: How Evan Goldberg scaled one of the world’s first cloud companies to a $9.3 billion exit

How did NetSuite grow from its humble beginnings above a hairdressers in 1998 to almost 20,000 employees 23 years later, and selling to Oracle for $9.3 billion dollars?  Today we’re speaking to Evan Goldberg, founder and EVP of NetSuite who make software which helps businesses with stuff like accountancy and inventory management.  “We provide [services] for businesses that are fast growing, that have increasing complexity, they've outgrown the simple systems that they were using to help them track their business when they had just a couple people. And we provide a business application and one system that really helps you grow your business more effectively.” None of it would’ve been possible if tech giant Larry Ellison (Founder of Oracle), worth $124b at the last count, hadn’t taken Evan under his wing and invested in the company. So how did they do it? What makes Larry special? And what was it like meeting Steve Jobs? -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
21/12/21·34m 39s

Welcome to the death industry, with Farewill’s Co-Founder and CEO, Dan Garrett

The only certainty in life is death (and taxes!) And yet the industry of death had remained largely unmodernised by the time Farewill was co-founded by Dan Garrett in 2015. “Out of 100, losing a spouse, or a parent or a best friend, is the 100 out of 100 worst thing you ever go through. And what a great funeral can do is bring back some of that connection that you have with someone.” Dan says that despite death affecting every single one of us it’s also historically lacked the kind of customer-centricity you see in great tech companies the world over. And that’s simply because we have a profoundly human aversion to talking about and thinking about death.  “When you're grieving, your amygdala, your hippocampus basically shuts down. It's really difficult for you to make decisions when you're dealing with grief. And you will just go to a high street funeral director and end up paying loads of money for something that you don't necessarily want.” Find out what innovation in the death industry actually looks like and the beautiful, personal things that people are doing with their wills and funerals. You might even get some inspo, if you can bear to think about it… -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
14/12/21·49m 27s

I went to sleep one day... and woke up gasping for air - Morning Brew Co-Founder Alex Lieberman

Being a Founder takes its toll on you - even if it looks like everything is rosy from the outside. Today we’re learning from Alex Lieberman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Morning Brew, which became a darling in the media industry because it actually became commercially successful. But whilst everyone else was applauding the company’s success, for Alex at least, he was trying to cope with anxiety and panic attacks.  The company sold late last year to Insider Inc (of Business Insider) for $75 million which means Alex doesn’t need to worry about money any more. But he does need to worry about the best way to use his time and freedom. He used to think chasing your passions was bullshit, but now he’s not so sure. Find out why Alex wants to be more like Benjamin Button and how you can make your life more meaningful. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
07/12/21·46m 49s

Vivino - how to disrupt a $400 billion industry that no one had really cracked, with Co-Founder Heini Zachariassen

How many times have you stood in front of a wall of wine in a supermarket and taken a punt on one because the bottle looked nicer than the others? We’ve all done it… and often been disappointed by results. So, in 2009 Heini Zachariassen, Co-Founder, Former CEO and current board member of Vivino, decided to fix the problem. “Why is wine something that nobody has disrupted? And why is wine something where the only thing I can base my decision on is looking at a label.” Vivino’s mission is to help people find better wine and they’ve been doing it primarily through their mobile app which lets you scan bottles to find reviews, ratings etc. - and ultimately make better wine buying decisions. Vivino isn’t Heini’s first rodeo. His first foray into entrepreneurialism was with BullGuard, a company delivering cybersecurity and VPN solutions. “The real success for me in doing your first startup is learning. It's just incredible how much you learn, what kind of mistakes you do, and that just comes back at you later. That's why second time founders are just better than first time founders.” You don’t build a startup alone, says Heini, you aren’t the only one doing the work. Your family has to make sacrifices, your spouse, your children. And when things go wrong, you feel them in your body.  Find out what he means…   -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
30/11/21·46m 55s

They had two weeks of runway left and are now worth $1.5b - Loom Co-Founder and CTO Vinay Hiremath

Growing a company to 14 million users and a valuation of $1.5 billion should be cause for celebration, but, like so many founders, for Vinay Hiremath, Co-Founder and CTO of Loom, it’s difficult to enjoy your successes. In fact it’s the failures that tend to stick with you. Loom, a video communication tool for businesses, wouldn’t be here today if Vinay and his Co-Founders hadn’t had their ‘sliding doors’ moment which revealed what they should be building right before they were going to have to give up.  “Half the battle is figuring out what the fuck the problem even is, right? What pain points do people actually have? As you're pivoting, you end up finding something that works, and maybe it doesn't line up with your hypothesis perfectly, and usually it doesn't make any sense. And if you see traction, that's the point where you hop on and say, Okay, I'm here for the ride.” And what a ride it’s been. Most founders would be ecstatic if they hit one macroeconomic trend - Loom hit four or five, back to back. But the problem with phenomenal growth is the human cost: the toll it’s taken on the team, on the engineers, on Vinay’s mental health. Is it worth it?  “Every year or two years, you're faced with some situation where you're like, is this worth it? Like, am I the right person? I wish I could say that it gets easier. But for me, it really hasn't.” -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
23/11/21·47m 8s

When you think Google might sue you but instead they hire you as a 17 YO - Larry Gadea, CEO & Founder of Envoy

Larry Gadea built the world's biggest Pikachu pictures website at 12 years old, was recruited by Google at 17, joined Twitter after college and then left to found Envoy in 2013.  He did all this after getting smuggled out of Romania as a young child in the late 1980s and watching his parents have to restart their lives several times. Normally childhoods filled with upheaval breed an aversion to risk - but not in Larry. Envoy is a workplace management tool that helps with things like letting you know when visitors have arrived at your office and booking meeting rooms.  16,000 workplaces were using Envoy, so on paper it looked like Larry had the dream career. But then Covid hit. “So here we are with our products almost exclusively built for these workplaces that you can't go in. At first it was a little bit crazy. It was very scary, like what do you do?” Find out how Larry and Envoy have got past this genuine iceberg.  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
16/11/21·46m 59s

You don't start your company to end up in court, with Michelle You, Co-Founder and CEO of Supercritical and former Co-Founder of Songkick

After exiting Songkick, Michelle You was burnt out. It felt like failure and grief (her words). She spent a year backpacking around the world, living on $2 per day, trying to figure out what it took to make her happy, to figure out what mattered to her and what her next business move was. “I went camping and hiking and surfing and climbing for the first time. And it was that that made me fall in love with nature. And that was my gateway drug into the climate change crisis.” Michelle is determined not to repeat the same mistakes she made at Songkick at Supercritical, the climate tech startup helping businesses actually achieve net zero. “It took me personally lots of coaching and conversations to feel like okay, I really feel ready now to dive in again, because I was scared, you know, I was really scared of failing, I was scared of having a bad idea, scared of replicating terrible decisions, terrible experiences.” Find out how Michelle found herself again after feeling like a massive failure from her first startup, and why she’s built a climate tech software platform that isn't all just planting trees.  “We measure the carbon footprint end to end. This typically takes somebody six months of working with a consultant charging five figures. And that's what I learned [during] my time at LocalGlobe. This can be done with software.” We chat about: Why the end of Songkick felt like grief The importance of a good product discovery process  Why climate is the next diversity and inclusion -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
09/11/21·41m 34s

Why do we clean our bottoms with toilet paper? With serial entrepreneur and Founder of Tushy Miki Agrawal

Miki Agrawal was forced to become an entrepreneur having started her career, in her own words, as an awful employee: “I got fired from pretty much all of my jobs growing up, because I just wasn't listening, or I was questioning or I was talking back or I was running in the hall or I was eating while on the job or giving away smoothies to friends. Whatever job I had, I did something wrong.” The daughter of an immigrant who came to the US with $5 in his pocket, Miki learned early that if you see something you don’t like, question it and fix it even if you don’t have resources - even if you have no money.  Miki nearly didn’t become an entrepreneur - she was going to be a professional footballer before fate decided otherwise. But now she’s the founder of Tushy, one of the most unusual startups we’ve had on the show.  Tushy makes a collection of bidets and other accessories for the bathroom to help you become more hygienic, less wasteful - and kinder to your bottom. “My boyfriend, now husband, got me this really crappy birthday product that he found in some Asian place and he installed it for Valentine's Day and he was like, ‘Look, these will help your butt’ and then it truly changed my life.” Find out how Miki dealt with theft in her first startup and poisonous politics in her second venture making period pants before she realised how much our bottoms need saving.  We chat about: Why entrepreneurs have to be naive The best interview question ever Conscious businesses outperform non-conscious by up to 13 times -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
02/11/21·45m 0s

Kraken - from growing up poor to founding Europe’s largest crypto exchange, with Co-Founder & CEO Jesse Powell

Jesse Powell grew up poor and hustling from a young age. First, he sold physical gaming cards, then he sold virtual ‘gold’ in the game World of Warcraft - and now he’s the Co-Founder and CEO of Kraken, Europe’s largest crypto exchange - with talk of going public for $20 billion. How did he make the jump?  “Bitcoin, when I read about it, I thought it was interesting. I first saw it and just thought it was like another World of Warcraft gold that we can sell on the website.” Jesse has been in crypto pretty much since the beginning, helping out in the aftermath of the infamous Mt. Gox hack when $460 million got stolen from the world’s biggest exchange. It taught him a lot about security but today it’s NFTs that have got him excited. “I think NFTs are going to be a much bigger thing. I think you'll see the tokenization of basically everything. We're already starting to see tokenized securities, stocks becoming tokenized, art is becoming tokenized.” Find out how he found the world’s best hacker and the biggest mistakes he’s made in building a multi billion pound company. “If I could go back again, what I would do is, even if I didn't need the money, I would go through one of the major Silicon Valley accelerators, I would apply for Y Combinator, and I would do it for the network. Because, you know, it's basically like your entrance fee into this elite club.” -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
26/10/21·46m 12s

Killing Kittens - the world famous sex party turning into a tech business, with Founder & CEO Emma Sayle

“Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten, and I went ‘right, that's it, that's what I'm calling my business.’” This is the story of Killing Kittens, the cult-like sex party, founded by Emma Sayle.  “Everyone starts talking to each other and mingling and then you'll see maybe a few couples disappear off into a room, or you know a group of girls go off. One minute you've got a packed bar and the next minute it's only 10 people in the bar and everyone's gone off into different rooms, getting naked, having sex, doing whatever. It’s like Dante's Inferno, limbs everywhere.” Killing Kittens begun life in 2005 as a series of monthly hedonistic parties led by empowered women in London, but it has since grown into a global movement including apps like the most private of private messaging platforms.  In this latest episode, Emma shares where the idea for Killing Kittens came from, why women today are much better at owning their sexuality, sexual double standards, what to expect at a KK party, and how to turn something like this into a big business.  “I need to raise money because we need to go big or go home on the whole platform side of it. And to make it fly before some Silicon Valley upstart with millions in the bank comes in claiming to own the female digital sex space.” -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
19/10/21·48m 0s

When and why to pivot your life, with doctor-turned-YouTuber Ali Abdaal

How do you live a happier, healthier, more productive life? This is the question that doctor-turned-YouTuber Ali Abdaal is obsessed with. “Most of my childhood was spent chasing this dream of making magical internet money that mostly didn't work out. And it was like a string of failures. But when I did end up making magical internet money, I felt that a lot of the failures from childhood had been worth it.” Ali’s first business, 6Med, which he started in university in 2013, helps people get into medical schools and has been used by over 10,000 prospective doctors. But recently his career took an interesting turn when, having paused being a doctor to focus on becoming a YouTuber, he realised that his real love was teaching. With over two million subscribers and videos that have racked up over 145 million views, Ali has definitely found his niche. “I started seriously asking myself the question like, what the hell do I want to do with my life? One exercise I found really helpful was thinking about what do I want written on my gravestone? I ended up landing on some combination of good dad, good husband, and inspirational teacher.” Find out how to be more productive, why having fun with your work is so important, and how to tell your mum that you’re packing in medicine for a career on YouTube (eek). -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
05/10/21·45m 38s

The startup that all other startups will want to succeed - MicroAcquire, with Founder & CEO Andrew Gazdecki

“It’s really hard for companies to get acquired. I was shocked at how many entrepreneurs reached out to me after we announced the acquisition [of Bizness Apps], like ‘how did you get acquired?’” With a couple of exits already under his belt, Andrew Gazdecki saw first-hand how broken the process of selling a company was. He used that experience to start MicroAcquire in January 2020, a platform that helps startups get acquired by connecting them with buyers within 30 days. The goal is to give startups an alternative to brokers that’s easier, cheaper and more likely to succeed - and it’s working.  In this episode, Andrew discusses the cut-throat world of clarinet playing, graduating Chico State with 2.07 - the lowest GPA of any student in their history; starting and exiting Bizness Apps and Altcoin.io; diagnosing the problems between private equity and entrepreneurs, and why he would support any of his employees who quit MicroAcquire to start their own company.  “Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It's about understanding who you are as a person. But what I think about a lot is just, the fear of regret is so much heavier than the fear of failure.” -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
28/09/21·46m 13s

Lora DiCarlo - the sex tech startup that made Cara Delevingne orgasm three times in six minutes and got banned for being ‘obscene’ at CES 2019

“When I was about 28 or 29 I had a squirting orgasm, I completely lost my mind. I couldn't tell if I was having a religious moment or a seizure, or maybe both or neither. As I lay there on the cold tile floor staring at the ceiling, all I could think was, oh my god, how do I do that again? And more importantly, how do I do that again by myself?” Lora DiCarlo is the founder of the sex tech startup also called Lora DiCarlo, and is determined to change the face of sex products. Having won an award for their first prototype at the world famous Consumer Electronics Show in 2019, the award was subsequently revoked for being ‘obsence, profane and immoral’, prompting outrage over the double-standards on women’s sexuality. Lora’s is a story of orgasms, scandals, celebrity power, the patriarchy, and a sprinkling of robotics engineering. Oh and find out how to bring on board Cara Delevingne as a co-owner. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
21/09/21·47m 17s

Saved from the Nazis, she started a unicorn software company in the 1960s staffed with only women and just £6 - Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley

Dame Stephanie Shirley, known as ‘Steve’ for reasons explained in the podcast, escaped Nazi persecution before founding a software startup in 1962 with just £6 which provided employment to hundreds of women when they weren’t taken seriously in the workplace. “I remember selling a six figure software project to a junior minister, and he was trying to pinch my bottom. It was very hard to maintain a sort of professionalism.”  Steve’s story is one that reminds us both how much the world has moved on since the early days of her startup, and sadly how little has changed. “I can't believe how today we're still talking about the same sorts of things that I was talking about 50 years ago: feeling undervalued, women’s ideas taken and presented by men as their own, women being talked over, women being patronised, women being sexually assaulted.” From coming to England on the Kindertransport in 1939, to falling in love with mathematics, being appalled at pay inequality, founding her own company (Xansa plc, now part of the Sopra Group) in 1962, and navigating the 1975 equal opportunities legislation: “We tried to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. But all in all, we realised that that was the way the world was going. And now of course, all of business is much more inclusive. But it was a struggle. In the early days, women were second class citizens.” Having retired from the business aged 60 (she’s now 88), Steve is now a full time philanthropist, focusing on things she knows and cares about, treating her various charities as businesses. Her advice to listeners? “All the important things that I've done have been either disruptive or long term. Sticking with 11 years for this, 17 years for that, five years [there]. These are not things that are done overnight with a burst of energy.” We chat about: From refugee to entrepreneur Why she had to become Steve to get traction Surviving a nervous breakdown Becoming a good philanthropist Links: Book - Let It Go Book - So To Speak -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
14/09/21·48m 43s

How exponential technologies will change the world - with founder, journalist and author, Azeem Azhar

“​​Technology does not appear from nowhere, it is closely allied to the shape of society. And if you have exponentially changing technologies, they will force changes on society, or create a gap.” Humans coming second best to technology isn’t a new subject but our guest today, Azeem Azhar, has a new, thoroughly researched take on it which goes further than anything we’ve seen before.  Azeem is a founder, journalist, speaker and now author of the book ‘Exponential: How Accelerating Technology Is Leaving Us Behind and What to Do About It’, which is being released right now. His book, and our conversation, is about the expanding gap between technology and society - not just computing power, but energy, market control, and even how our countries are run. He presents the immense problems and opportunities this creates for us as a species. When’s the precise start date of the exponential wave? Will the growing gap between tech and society inevitably lead to conflict? Why are cities important in the exponential age? What are the major problems accelerating tech can solve? Yes, it can be a huge force for good. Find out what the future holds for our civilisation. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
07/09/21·47m 3s

Ethereum fallout - how the second biggest cryptocurrency in the world nearly didn’t happen, with Anthony Di Iorio, Co-Founder of Ethereum and Decentral

How many of us are kicking ourselves for not investing $100 in Bitcoin in 2010 - it would be worth almost $48 million today. Anthony Di Iorio, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, the massive open-source blockchain, which is home to Ether, the second biggest cryptocurrency in the world after Bitcoin, is not kicking himself. Anthony was an early investor in Bitcoin putting in $8,000 back in 2012. With the proceeds of his first sale of Bitcoin, Anthony was able to initially fund Ethereum with the few million dollars he made. Anthony stepped away from Ethereum in 2015, and is currently the founder and CEO of the blockchain company Decentral - a software development company he founded that focuses on blockchain tech.  Anthony’s story is wild - not your average entrepreneur tale. He needs round the clock bodyguards and for a man who’s spent his working life seeking freedom, that doesn’t sit well.  “I always search for freedom, to be empowered, where I can be in control of my life utilising technology to do that. A big turning point for me [was] when I'm surrounded by security guards and thinking, is this really the life that I want? And the answer is no. The more I search for freedom, the less freedom I actually get.” Links: Decentral Ethereum.org -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
31/08/21·48m 32s

The other way to build a massive tech company - doing it slowly, with Airtable Co-Founder and CEO Howie Liu

Most investors didn’t understand the concept. Most non-technical entrepreneurs at the time didn’t get it either. But Howie Liu, Co-Founder and CEO of multi-billion dollar tech juggernaut Airtable, had the conviction to bet the next 10 years of his life on it. “I didn't come up with Airtable as an idea, on a lark, it was informed by a lot of the research I did, a lot of the observations I had of the enterprise software landscape, of looking back at other companies that did similar things. I then came to this gut decision that this was a big opportunity.” Airtable is a low-code relational database, a highly versatile platform that’s grown massively since its founding almost 10 years ago. In the interim, Howie has learnt how to articulate a unique product to a huge customer base, and grow it from the ground up to become a category defining piece of software.  But how did a home-brew startup become a Silicon Valley darling? Howie shares his story from lifeguarding, ghosting Accenture on the first day of his new job, joining the Y Combinator, founding Etacts and his subsequent decision to sell it to Salesforce less than a year later: “We felt woefully ill prepared to go and try to build a larger and more ambitious company from the starting point that we had set out with. And a few acquisition offers did come around, including Salesforce, we felt like they would be great learning opportunities.” Find out what Howie did next on his way to a near $6b valuation. -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
23/08/21·49m 40s

How to build a business at 16, recover from a $1b dollar deal collapsing, and walk on hot coals, with multi-exit entrepreneur Norman Crowley

What would you do if you sold your business and effectively retired at the ripe, old age of 28? Phenomenally successful serial entrepreneur Norman Crowley took just three weeks before jumping back into business.  “A business isn't just a vehicle to make money. A vehicle is an expression of your creativity, it's working with friends. And then the thing nobody warns you about is that when it's sold, you just end up with a bank balance, and the friends are gone, the mission has gone.” Norman has founded multiple businesses in welding, gaming and eco-friendly energy. Each time he’s turned them into multi-million pound ventures, before selling them and moving on to the next big thing.  Norman has had his fair share of bruises - including having a dream billion dollar deal slip right through his fingers at the last minute.  “An Icelandic hedge fund, who already owned 25% of the business, offered to buy the whole thing for $1 billion. And when somebody offers to buy your business for $1 billion, it's impolite to say no, so we agreed to sell.” His focus now is on climate change, and despite being asked to sell his current business every six months, he’s resolute that this one isn’t for sale.  Don’t miss Norman share his fascinating story in this episode. From how his childhood impacted his career, to the commonality of anxiety and entrepreneurship, starting and selling five businesses, learning to control the business narrative, building a gambling machine business from £70 to £300m in revenue, missing out on selling a business for £1bn, founding the cloud, tackling climate change with The Cool Planet Group, and learning how to walk on hot coals.  “Keep fucking walking. This business shit is not easy. Anyone who tells you it's easy is not trying hard enough, so keep walking. Don't give up.” We chat about: Mental health and entrepreneurship Starting and selling 5 businesses Why his current business is not for sale Learning how to walk on hot coals Want to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter! -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
16/08/21·47m 50s

Overcoming crippling anxiety and how to get work/life balance right, with Mathilde Collin, Co-Founder and CEO of Front

Mathilde Collin is the co-founder and CEO of Front, a communications platform that has developed a cult following - despite having to stop working at one point because her anxiety had become so debilitating. Find out how Mathilde learned to overcome burnout, an incapacitated co-founder, and a serious case of competitiveness that almost let work take over her whole life.  Front has grown quickly since its founding in 2013, amassing a cult following, and recently announced a huge series C round with some investors including Eric Yuan - the founder of Zoom.  In this candid conversation, Mathilde shares why she was so unhappy as an intern before starting Front, meeting her co-founder, her Y Combinator experience, meeting Patrick Collison - CEO of Stripe, why dealing with anxiety has been so challenging, and why she considers discipline and transparency to be important skills for happiness and success.  “For me, what matters is when I'm not working, I want to make sure that I'm not working. I think the biggest thing that prevents people from having a good work life balance isn't obviously the number of hours, but the fact that when they're off, they're on.” We chat about: Make something people want How YC gave her the confidence that Front would be a great company Transparency and discipline at Front Her super power Links: Mathilde Collin – Medium Want to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
10/08/21·46m 4s

Breaking startup scandal: how blood pressure medtech TLT scammed investors out of millions, with investigating reporter Sara McCorquodale

Tarilian Laser Technologies (TLT) was a medtech company founded by husband and wife team, Dr Sandeep and Nita Shah, who bamboozled everyone from the UK government to PWC. They claimed to have a revolutionary wearable blood pressure monitor, powered by a secret, proprietary algorithm. They raised millions, before everything came crashing down.  This is an audio exclusive with the journalist who just broke the story in The Sunday Times, Sara McCorquodale, founder and CEO of CORQ. When Sara, a former journalist, first heard what TLT had done, she knew it was a story she had to report on and has spent the last year investigating. “It was just six lines of JavaScript”, said Sara, of the secret algorithm. “It was a GCSE level sum, it wasn't an algorithm, it was barely an equation. And that sum had a £52 million valuation.” “Sandeep and Nita Shah, they were very credible characters… Usually you don't Google the person who owns the [scam] company and find search results which include them winning awards, and being endorsed by the government of their country.” It was a 13-year scam.  How did they get away with it so long? Where did all the money go? Why didn’t anyone raise the alarm? Links: The Theranos story Tarilian Laser Technologies Book - Influence: How Social Media Influencers Are Shaping Our Digital Future Want to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
02/08/21·48m 12s

The American fixing the race problem in UK venture capital - Eric Collins, star of Channel 4’s The Money Maker and CEO of Impact X

“Impact X exists because I'm tired. And there are a lot of people who are tired of asking the question - what to do to improve the lives of black Britain? We've been having this conversation for a long, long time.” Meet Eric Collins. He’s done some work for President Obama, built some of the world’s biggest tech companies, is the host of a new TV show on Channel 4 called ‘The Money Maker’, and is the CEO of Impact X, a venture capital fund in the UK for underrepresented founders.  How did Eric find himself here? “I got a network of extraordinary people. When I say these people are extraordinary people I'm talking about when I was an undergraduate, there was a woman named Michelle Robinson, who was a student in my brother's class, you will know her as Michelle Obama.” Eric shares his incredible story from building a network at university with the selective eating club, Cottage Club, to the global tech behemoths he helped build, to the mistakes and reflections he gained from his time at SwiftKey, to hosting ‘The Money Maker’, and finally founding Impact X, a venture capital group for and by underrepresented entrepreneurs. We chat about: Building your network from university Going from $5 million to $70 billion in 3 years at AOL Funding underrepresented entrepreneurs Want to receive our podcast on a weekly basis? Subscribe to our newsletter!
26/07/21·48m 6s

How to build a $65b company, with Twilio Co-Founder and CEO Jeff Lawson

Today’s guest is at the helm of probably the biggest company we’ve ever had on Secret Leaders. Jeff Lawson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Twilio, a cloud communication platform that helps businesses use everything from text to video calls in their sites and apps. Since its founding in 2008, Twilio has grown to 4,500 employees, annual revenue of $1.74 billion, and is valued at $65 billion. Yup, $65 billion. Woof. All this despite investors not being interested at the beginning which forced Jeff and his team to make a decision. “When choosing between listening to investors and customers, we're gonna choose customers. And we're gonna let customers guide our actions. And if that works, then investors will follow suit. And sure enough, they did.” But how did Jeff actually do it? How do you build a company like Twilio?  We chat about: Learning how to start companies  How big companies work How to reinvent yourself if you want to stay CEO  How to have difficult conversations IPOing on the day of the Brexit vote
19/07/21·48m 56s

Fighting P Diddy, managing Gwen Stefani & Nas, what Roger Moore said in Monaco, and turning the music industry on its head, with Steve Stoute, Founder and CEO of United Masters

Before he was the manager for Nas and Gwen Stefani, before he was the producer for the film 8 Mile, before he was getting into fights with P Diddy and 50 Cent, Steve Stoute was an entrepreneur. He’s always been an entrepreneur - starting out shovelling snow and selling mortgages. And boy has he got some stories to tell, like what Roger Moore said to him when 007 met Steve and Bono in a bar in Monaco. Find out how Steve is turning the music industry on its head as the founder of United Masters, having recently raised $50 million from an all star trio: Apple, Google and Andreessen Horowitz.  “As an entrepreneur, your job is to have an idea, build out the vision so that it's clear, and that people can buy into it. Employees, outside partners, strategic partners, bankers, whatever it may be, you have to get people aligned around your vision.” Steve shares his journey, from growing up in Queens, New York, around the birth of hip hop, to investing in music producers, and creating and producing albums for Gwen Stefani and Nas: “Once you start getting momentum and you have heat, you know, heat attracts heat, people want to be around what’s hot, and working with Nas and then LL Cool J and Foxy Brown, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill and the Fujis...”  Steve has learned from Sit Paul McCartney, has had public fallings out with 50 Cent, founded an advertising agency - Translation - and now with United Masters has created a record company that gives artists back their power.  “Don't listen to the noise, be irrational with your pursuit of perfection, be irrational with your belief in your idea. And don't allow people to tell you that you can't do it. They're actually just putting their limitations on themselves, on you.” We chat about: The impact the rise of hip hop had on him Taking advantage of every opportunity Founding the record company in your pocket His darkest days as an entrepreneur Links: Book - The Tanning of America -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
12/07/21·48m 50s

Building world’s best elite match-making service, with Rachel MacLynn, Founder and CEO of Vida

“I came across a job advert for a psychologist to join a matchmaking agency. I wouldn't describe myself as a spiritual person, but it just felt like my dad had sent [me] this opportunity. I had butterflies in my stomach. That was the moment that changed my life.” Are you unlucky in love? Or perhaps you’re exploring a very niche entrepreneurial path, then don’t miss Rachel Vida MacLynn, the founder of The Vida Consultancy, widely considered the best elite matchmaking agency in the world, on this week’s Secret Leaders.  “One of our biggest challenges is we don't get to keep our clients for a lifetime. We have to keep finding new clients because most of our clients only stay with us for 12 months, and they're expensive to acquire.” It's a fascinating niche - they're a matchmaking service for high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs and business people looking for long term relationships.  “I've pulled more and more psychology into the service, because it's become more apparent to me that a lot of clients think they know what they want in a partner, but what they think they're looking for isn't actually right for them.” But how does elite matchmaking work? What is the business model for such a niche? What does it cost? And how did Rachel get into it in the first place? From starting up to international expansion, to learn about Rachel’s incredible journey in elite matching and more, download and listen to this latest episode.  We chat about: The role of psychology in matchmaking Finding customers for elite matchmaking Funding and international expansion -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
05/07/21·46m 58s

Learn the art of negotiation with Chris Voss, FBI’s former chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator, and author of Never Split the Difference

Want to know what it’s like to negotiate for a person’s life? Want to learn the secrets of great negotiation? Want to find out why a deal can break down with no warning? “The deal-killers are as important as the decision maker”, explains Chris Voss. “We've changed our hostage negotiation strategies to take the people not at the table into account. And we found the exact same dynamic in business.” If you feel like your negotiation skills need sharpening, you’ll like this episode with Chris Voss, former chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator for the FBI and author of the best-seller, Never Split the Difference. He’s got some pretty crazy stories too. Now the Founder and CEO of The Black Swan Group, Chris has carved out a career as the world’s number one negotiation coach, taking what he learned during his years at the FBI and applying those techniques to the business world.  “Listening is not waiting for your turn to talk. It's an evolved skill. There isn't any negotiation book out there that doesn't list listening as an advanced skill that you have to actually work at.” Learn about Chris’s journey to becoming a negotiator, why listening and being coachable are the core skills of a great negotiator, what’s happening psychologically during negotiations, the art of the calibrated question, why Bono is one of the best negotiators in the world, why deference is a superpower... and why you should never split the difference.  Links: Book - Never Split the Difference -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
28/06/21·46m 55s

How Gorillas became Europe’s fastest ever unicorn and what it means for your supermarket shopping, with Co-Founder and CEO Kağan Sümer

“We were 100% sure about one thing: if you go to the fucking moon, you shouldn't go to the supermarket. We have the technology to go to space and we’re still going to the supermarket? This is counter intuitive.” Kağan Sümer is the founder and CEO of Gorillas, a grocery delivery service which promises to have your order delivered to your door in under 10 minutes, at retail prices. They’ve been blowing up. Recently launched in the UK, they’re the quickest ever European startup to be valued at over $1 billion and they’re only just getting started.  “Gorillas is about four things: being authentic, taking bold decisions, keeping riding, and constantly changing things and owning the change.” Kağan (pronounced Kaan, not Kağan) is celebrating Gorillas becoming the fastest ever European startup to reach a billion dollar valuation, and is now fighting hard to introduce the venture to the UK and US. If you haven’t heard of Gorillas, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re about to be everywhere.  “You can outsmart me. You can out-structure me. You can out X me. But you cannot out self-discipline me. You can't outwork me. Because if I want something, I go for it.” Before we strap ourselves into the Gorilla rocketship, we first find out what made Kağan the man he is, what shaped his foray into entrepreneurialism, how the company grew from one man storing drinks on his balcony to a billion dollar company, the four values of Gorillas, how Kağan’s vision for revolutionising delivery, building a new supply chain and infrastructure led to Gorillas phenomenal growth, and knowing when it’s time to move on and hand the mantle over.  If you’re keen to learn from Kağan’s success story or to follow in his shoes, don’t miss this incredible episode.  We chat about: Kağan’s path to Gorillas Gorillas phenomenal growth The mega funding round led by Coatue Management Hiring for behaviour, not skills.   The four values of Gorilla Links: sifted.eu/startuplife gorillas.io -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
07/06/21·44m 50s

Healthily: Building a “moonshot” for the health of a billion people, with Co-Founder & CEO Matteo Berlucchi

Most of the founders we speak to have already achieved much of their startup’s mission, but today’s Secret Leader is in the midst of a much longer journey with his company. Meet Matteo Berlucchi, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Healthily which has spent several years building their product to a point where they can play for the ‘big prize’.  “Healthily is a moonshot, it’s the textbook definition of a moonshot. The idea behind Healthily is to use technology to enable people to manage their health in a better way... To become the Spotify or Netflix of healthcare.” Launched in 2015, the app formerly known as Your.MD, now Healthily, is the first medically approved self-care app in the world, and is aiming for a user base of over a billion people.  “To me, success is not making money, it has never been my definition of success. To me, success is building something that has impact.”  From his first days founding startups, to helping create Healthily and turn it into a profitable startup; investment, failure and limiting beliefs, don’t miss Matteo’s hard fought insights. “Provided that you always do things with integrity and with belief, you believe that you're doing the right thing, then if it doesn't work out, it doesn’t work. Failure is lying to yourself, doing something knowing that it's not going to work and doing it anyway, that's a failure.” We chat about: What is actually success and failure Self care is the self service of healthcare How to make a company like Healthily profitable Failing to sell the story of Healthily to investors properly -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
31/05/21·41m 22s

Myprotein: How to bootstrap a £500 overdraft into a £350m exit, with Founder Oliver Cookson

“I was a keen gym goer and I used to buy protein powder from what was the leading sports nutrition company in the UK at the time. And about six months in I looked at the back and thought, ‘what actually is this?’” Oliver Cookson founded the sports nutrition business Myprotein in 2004 with just a £500 overdraft, selling it to The Hut Group seven years later having kept 100% equity. The deal ended up being worth north of £350m for him. So how did he pull it off? “I don't live with regrets because some people said to me, ‘should you have held onto Myprotein longer?’ If I did, I’d be a billionaire now. There's no doubt about it. It is always growing. However, you can only make a decision at that moment, where you are now.” Oliver has written a book about his experience - Bootstrap Your Life - and hosts a podcast of the same name (links below).  “If you want to create a leading brand, a national leading brand, or an international brand, there's no work life balance, especially if you’re bootstrapping. It’s impossible.” From students with an idea to FTSE 100 CEOs, this is an episode no entrepreneur should miss.  “Stick to your guns. One thing private equity will do is they will try and ship you. So call their bluff early. I did. They will try and get you on bits and bobs of what comes out of the due diligence. Don't be bullied in that situation.”  We chat about: Handling growth and achieving £1m EBITDA, still fully bootstrapped  What you have to sacrifice for success Selling Myprotein to The Hut Group Working on the board with people he’s in litigation with Links: www.myprotein.com Bootstrap Your Life - book Bootstrap Your Life - podcast -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
24/05/21·53m 43s

Double Jeffardy: the story of Seedrs and its vetoed Crowdcube merger, with Co-Founder Jeff Lynn and CEO Jeff Kelisky

How did two Americans called Jeff come to lead Seedrs, one of the UK’s leading crowdfunding platforms? And why did their planned merger with bitter rivals Crowdcube get blocked?  In today’s ‘Double Jeffardy’ episode, Seedrs Co-Founder Jeff Lynn and CEO Jeff Kelisky share their experiences and learnings - from the biggest missed opportunities when scaling, to what the CMA got wrong with the merger. “The CMA has chosen to take an exceedingly aggressive stance on anything that looks like a tech merger. I think they feel very burned by having approved Facebook and Instagram, where they didn't understand or see the platform power that would emerge.” In this episode you’ll learn about: The biggest mistakes Seedrs made in the early days Seedrs vs Crowdcube When Jeff realised he needed to hire a CEO How to integrate a new CEO into a founder-led company The failed merger How to get motivated to compete again after a merger like that collapses -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
17/05/21·57m 3s

After his startup IPOd in record time everything fell apart, with Eve Sleep co-founder Kuba Wieczorek

Founders dream of being early to market, garnering flattering press, watching their product fly off the shelves and IPOing in record time. For Kuba Wieczorek, Co-Founder and former Chief Marketing Officer of Eve Sleep, the dream became a reality. And then the wheels came off. Kuba founded DTC mattress company Eve Sleep in 2015 with his cousin Jas, and they quickly started experiencing explosive growth. Within just two years they’d raised £35 million and were valued at £140 million. To top it off, they IPOd in record breaking time. It was the stuff of fairytales. But the fairytale wasn’t to last.  “About six months after Jas left I hit rock bottom as well. You know, really rock bottom, I realised that it was either my health and my family, or staying at Eve, so I made the right choice. I resigned.” In today’s episode, Kuba shares his journey with Eve, the effect it had on him and his mental health, and what he will do differently in the future.  “I’ll be stronger with myself and not be seduced by crazy growth and money and promises of IPO and riches and all of that stuff. Authenticity, be authentic. If you know who you are, and you know the brand you're building, just stick to that.” We chat about: The meteoric rise of eve Sleep The fastest ever British retail float The toll of eve on his mental health Know what you’re building -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
10/05/21·49m 52s

Bolt: Markus Villig skipped university at 19 to take on Uber and become the youngest unicorn founder in Europe

Markus Villig was 19 when he decided to spend the $5,000 his parents had saved up for university on starting a business instead. His initial goal for Bolt, then called Taxify, was to solve Tallinn’s (Estonia) taxi problem. By 25 he was the youngest unicorn founder in Europe and had shown that Uber wasn’t going to win everywhere. “Today, Bolt is the fastest growing mobility company in the world. We have more than 50 million customers on the platform. We operate in more than 40 countries. And we’ve raised more than $600 million of funding with a team of about 2000 people.” Markus knew from an early age he wanted to start a company and build a product.  “The only things that were really, really clear for me were that it needed to be in technology, I really wanted it to be a consumer product. And it needed in some ways to make the world a better place. But other than that, I was pretty agnostic of which space to get into.” He chose transportation, not only because he can’t drive, but because hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on transportation globally by consumers each year, and what they get in return isn’t good.  From the problems caused by private cars, to taking on Uber, their unusual funding routes, making big mistakes in his early hires, and why his strategy to focus on Africa paid off.  “The last straw for me was when I was in Serbia, in Belgrade, meeting one of the local taxi companies. And halfway through the meeting, I realised that these guys are essentially mafia, the guy had a revolver on the table and a big safe in the corner of his office.” This is a tale of tenacity and grit, and a CEO’s unwavering belief in his vision. Don’t miss it. It’s a good one.  We chat about: Building his first company at 17 Taking on Uber The hardest challenges he faced as CEO Scaling and fundraising when no VC will touch you Not diluting the company’s focus too much Links: Eat Sleep Work Repeat - Perspectives on the work to come -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
03/05/21·43m 11s

A startup Covid tale: how accuRx got to ⅓ of UK vaccine bookings and 99% market share of GPs, with Co-Founder and CTO Laurence Bargery

You might not have heard of today’s guest or his company, but if you’ve had a Covid jab in the UK (or are going to) there’s a good chance you’ve used their tech.  Laurence Bargery is co-founder of accuRx, a healthtech supplier trusted by 99% of GPs, and with ⅓ of all vaccine bookings in the UK now taking place through their systems. “Within about four or six weeks of us releasing this suite of Covid tools we'd gone up from that 50% point to about 99% of GPs using us.” Laurence and co-founder Jacob Haddad built a tool to allow GPs and other healthcare providers to communicate more effectively with their patients. To date, their software is used by 7,000+ GP surgeries and has messaged 30m+ patients.  But they didn’t start out down this avenue. In fact, they started off looking at antibiotic resistance, but the market wasn't there, so they pivoted.  They knew they wanted to create something that added value to healthcare, but not knowing enough about the industry and its sticking points, they immersed themselves in a GP practice.  “And that's where this idea came from, of something super simple we can do that's going to be really powerful when applicable to so many of the problems in general practice and healthcare and ultimately, that was communication.” From getting traction with GPs, to building individual Wix websites, Laurence shares how they grew accuRx pre-Covid, to how they've dealt with the explosive growth during and post the pandemic. If you’re a founder and you’ve had to pivot your business, or you’re thinking about pivoting, don’t miss this latest episode of Secret Leaders.  We chat about: Pivoting the business to accuRx Dealing with explosive growth Strategically handling 99% market share Monitoring employee engagement   Links: Jacob Haddad -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
26/04/21·49m 57s

Insights from 12 world class founders & thinkers for our 100th episode

We’ve been making the UK’s startup podcast since 2017 and this is our 100th episode. To celebrate, we’re doing something a little different and bringing you a bunch of the most powerful stories and insights from some of the amazing guests we’ve had the honour of talking to over the years.  In celebration of this milestone, we’re also giving away a pair of Apple Airpod Pros to a lucky Secret Leaders subscriber/follower. Entering is super simple and takes just a few seconds - go to www.secretleaders.com/competition to win. We’ve divided this episode into three sections. In the first, you’ll hear war stories from the founders of some of the world’s biggest unicorns; in the second we share tales of mental health and adversity; and in the third we bring you big ideas.  “What I want them to learn from me is to find that thing that really makes you happy, and where you're really creative, because that's what will bring you fulfilment in your life.”  From Daniel Schreiber, co-founder of insurance disruptor Lemonade, on how he formulated the product, to Jo Malone talking about growth, to Will Shu, founder of Deliveroo, talking about those early scrappy days when everyone had to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in: “We would do stuff like just hand out flyers in the street. I wore a kangaroo costume too many times. I didn't enjoy wearing the kangaroo costume.” You’ll hear Cal Henderson, co-founder of Slack, talking about his company's reaction to the pandemic, former Chief Business Officer for Google X, Mo Gawdat, sharing how even the worst times in our lives can be gateways into something beautiful, and Jason Calcanis, the self-proclaimed ‘greatest angel investor of all time’:  “A lot of founders and people have early success. The things that made them successful in that first phase of their career will actually work against them in the second phase.” For all you entrepreneurs out there, don’t miss this ultimate episode, jam packed full of 12 insightful, key takeaways. Download and listen now.  We chat about: How to be a disruptor Lay the foundations for success  The value of happiness, resilience and a culture of openness Develop atomic habits Support women in business  Be humble Links: Daniel Schreiber Will Shu Jo Malone Cal Henderson Nicola Kilner Mo Gawdat Martha Lane Fox Damien Bradfield James Clear Debbie Wosskow Alain De Botton Jason Calcanis www.secretleaders.com/competition -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
19/04/21·1h 3m

How to land LeBron James & Michael Phelps in your first 100 customers - Will Ahmed, Founder of Whoop

As the captain of the Harvard squash team, Will Ahmed trained and prepared as best he could. But, whatever he tried, his body kept breaking down. He didn't know why so he started researching the human body, devouring medical papers. Now, several years later, those personal frustrations have grown into Whoop, a wearable tech startup you can see on the wrists of NFL players, pro golfers and Navy Seals - despite being consistently told his strategy was wrong. “The vision for Whoop has always been the same, which is that we're going to build this wearable platform that's going to help you improve your health. And it's going to start with the best athletes in the world. And then it's going to be on everyone.” So he was proved right. Whoop counted professional athletes LeBron James and Michael Phelps among their first 100 users, and just got valued at $1.2 billion.  “I object to the quote, ‘it's a marathon, not a sprint’, because it's actually both. If you truly are trying to create a company from scratch, and have it be this enormous success, you have to go at an incredibly high pace for an incredibly long time.” We chat about: How overtraining led him to found Whoop How do you actually create a resilient mindset Why the first fundraise was the toughest How to build epic brand partnerships What happens when Amazon try to rip you off -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
12/04/21·50m 50s

Trinny Woodall reveals her surprising, untold startup journey - from dotcom bust to beauty boom today

Most people recognise Trinny Woodall for being one half of Trinny and Susannah from their breakout TV show: What Not To Wear, but not many people know this side of her story. Trinny is a serial entrepreneur. She was a founder in the dotcom bubble back in the day, and is the founder of soaring makeup startup, Trinny London, which booked £42m of revenue in the last year. What happened? How did she get here? In today’s episode of Secret Leaders, Trinny shares her really surprising entrepreneurial journey that doesn’t get told. “Susannah and I started the idea [their first entrepreneurial venture], it was a very lucky break. And I did that for eight years. And then from that television came and then I started writing books and that whole part of my career, when I look back now, brought me to being the CEO of Trinny London.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a budding founder or a seasoned entrepreneur, this episode with Trinny is not to be missed. From hiring interns with a twinkle in their eye, to having to sell her clothes to fund her startup, to understanding the need for personalisation in a brand, Trinny has a wealth of experience every founder needs to hear.  “Through building Trinny London, advice I always give to other entrepreneurs, younger entrepreneurs, is stay in your own lane. Because if you look too much at the competition, you dilute the uniqueness of your offering.” We chat about: Her partnership with Susannah The genesis of Trinny London Financing Trinny London How she handled fame Creating a community on social media -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
05/04/21·54m 26s

Bloom & Wild: building world’s fastest growing flower company with Co-Founder & CEO Aron Gelbard

How big can a flower company really be? Well, the industry processes over a billion transactions every year and Bloom & Wild is leading the charge to become the dominant player. In today’s show we talk to Co-Founder and CEO Aron Gelbard about how it all nearly failed before it had even begun, and how much of that market they can really take. “We're doing a few million of those. So we've made meaningful headway. But there's a huge way to go around the world.” That’s not bad for a company that set up shop in 2013 and quickly became best known for making it possible to send flowers in under a minute on a smartphone, and for those flowers to be delivered through your letterbox.  “We got 1,000 orders in the week of [our first] Mother's Day. And I remember this because I had to process them all individually in the spreadsheet, and it took me all day to do whereas normally the order processing took an hour.” From their first piece of accidental marketing by the Daily Mail (after being told to move on by Wholefoods on High St. Ken), to understanding the value of a great customer review:  “We very rapidly realised that it was going to be really important to get good customer reviews and build trust, because people need to trust you in order to let you be the conveyor of their emotions. And so we focused on getting good review scores.” Don’t miss Aron sharing the challenges of international growth, the problem with building a website on the cheap, their success with replantable Christmas trees through the post, and raising their recent £75m seed funding round.  “It's super important for me to be kind to everybody that I interact with. I think it connects to my desire to please people, it's really innate in the business that we're in, that you have to do it kindly. And I think I've tried to be kind to consumers and those that we work with, and to our team.” We chat about: Tracking sender and recipient Net Promoter Score Embracing sustainability  Fundraising for international expansion Building and nurturing culture while WFH The importance of kindness  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
29/03/21·50m 10s

Four top female founders reveal what it’s really like in the startup hot seat

To mark Women’s History Month, we’re serving you the secret sauce of four incredible female founders: Alice Bentinck, co-founder of Entrepreneur First; Debbie Wosskow, co-founder of AllBright; Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of Olio; and Tamara Lohan, co-founder of Mr and Mrs Smith. Although the numbers for female-founded businesses are improving, it still remains that of the 6 million businesses in the UK, only 1/5 are run by women. There are twice as many male entrepreneurs as female ones. And only 1% of startup funding goes to female-founded businesses. “When I started, there was not a whiff of any kind of VC money specifically for female businesses, there were no female networking clubs, there were no female support groups, there was nothing.” In this one-off episode, recorded at our live event for International Women’s Day 2020, these founders share some of the toughest moments they’ve had in their careers, they discuss access to funding, and why there has never been a better time to become an entrepreneur, if you’re female.  “I suppose my coping mechanism is to try and ignore [imposter syndrome] and just focus on solving the problems that will make my business better and more valuable, rather than constantly worrying about my own performance.” We chat about: Their toughest moments as entrepreneurs Funding as female entrepreneurs The shifting gender balance Tackling imposter syndrome Links: https://www.secretleaders.com/alice-bentinck https://www.secretleaders.com/allbright-debbie-woskow https://www.secretleaders.com/saasha-celestial-one https://www.secretleaders.com/tamara-lohan -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
23/03/21·49m 52s

World’s youngest Dragon, with Michele Romanow, Co-Founder of Clearbanc

You can’t take your ears off our guest today. Born and raised in Canada, Michele Romanow has been building startups since university (a cafe which still operates today) followed by a venture in an industry she knew nothing about - caviar - right when the 2008 financial crisis struck. “There I am, 21 years old, selling the world's most unnecessary luxury product. I realised the world owes you absolutely nothing, that everything can fall apart in a second, that it can be your fault. It can be the market's fault, it doesn't matter. But I was gonna have to pivot if I wanted it to be successful.” And pivot she did.  From Buytopia, to SnapSaves (acquired by Groupon), to Dragons’ Den Canada (‘I was the youngest Dragon ever’), to co-founding Clearbanc - Michele has done so much in such a short space of time. She co-founded Clearbanc having seen dozens of similar pitches on Dragons’ Den. The idea is that ecommerce founders no longer have to give up equity in exchange for capital. Instead Clearbanc invests and gets paid back from revenues with a 6% - 12% fee on top.  “We have now invested more than $1.6 billion into 4,000 different founders around the world. We have backed eight times more women than the venture capital industry average.” What a story. We hope you enjoy it. If you like what we’re doing please subscribe or follow Secret Leaders.  We chat about: Starting her career in cafes and caviar From Dragons’ Den to Clearbanc The struggle of financing Clearbanc The hardest part of being an entrepreneur Never be comfortable -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
16/03/21·53m 13s

From living on benefits to the American dream, with Pipe Co-Founder Harry Hurst

“I was a young kid with a family on government benefits living off £600 a month. I was surrounded by people that could afford private school. And from a naive child's perspective, they seemed to have everything that I didn't have when I went home to my reality. But I think that was the formation of Harry Hurst, the hungry, ambitious, immigrant entrepreneur.” Today’s Secret Leader, Harry Hurst, has been hustling ever since he was kid - and he’s had to. He credits his poor upbringing for his entrepreneurial spirit - and with two hugely successful startups to his name (Skurt and Pipe), he’s not only someone who’s risked everything - he knows what it takes to build a special company.  With co-founder Josh Mangel, he founded Skurt, an on-demand car rental service, later acquired by fair.com in 2014.  They subsequently co-founded Pipe, a trading platform for a new asset class - recurring revenue - in 2019.   “You've obviously seen the press announcement how we ended up raising $50 million from all of these strategic [partnerships], it's Shopify, Slack, HubSpot.” But it’s not all been plain sailing for Harry. He’s had his back to the wall on many occasions but in 2016 he experienced one of the toughest moments of his life when he was hit with severe anxiety.  From his humble beginnings, to starting and selling Skurt, to founding Pipe, dealing with mental health and the importance of sharing ideas, Harry is open, frank and honest about his crazy journey. “Don't hold back on discussing the ideas that you have, if you want to be a founder. It pains me when people say to me, ‘I've got this amazing idea, but I can't talk about it’. I think that's gonna hold you back.” Download and listen to this truly fascinating, rags to riches story. We chat about: The origins of Harry Hurst, entrepreneur Founding Skurt and Pipe Harry the leader at Skurt v Harry the leader at Pipe Experiencing anxiety Don’t hold back on your ideas Links: www.fair.com www.pipe.com -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
09/03/21·51m 25s

Former Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield on falling out of love with your work

Get you own unique referral link: https://www.secretleaders.com/hype Tom Blomfield, the former CEO and Co-Founder of Monzo, and Co-Founder of GoCardless, knows a thing or two about the fintech industry.  “We wanted to create something different than existing banks. We believed that the banks weren't serving customers particularly well at that moment. Customer expectations had been raised dramatically by things like Spotify, Uber and Airbnb, in terms of the user experience and functionality.” Which is why his announcement in January 2021 that he was leaving Monzo, 6 years after founding the challenger bank, came as a shock to many.  “When you get to that size, it's about people management. You spend almost no time on product or customers really. It's about process, a lot of process, extraordinary amount of regulation.” But it takes an outstanding leader to know when to step aside. And in today’s inaugural episode of Season 7, Tom talks about the mounting pressure when you’re at the top and ultimately its impact on your mental health and identity.  “I've talked about suffering that kind of stress, a build up of stress, it starts impacting your sleep, or at least it impacted my sleep, it became this vicious cycle where not sleeping makes your work worse, make worse decisions.” From raising £1m from crowdfunding in 96 seconds, to how he scaled personally alongside the bank, to building a culture from the very outset, to what made him leave Monzo - Tom is exceedingly candid in this interview, which was recorded just a few weeks after his departure. Don’t miss this hugely insightful episode from one of Europe’s top founders and CEOs - it’s something all entrepreneurs need to hear. We chat about: Crowdfunding Monzo Building a culture from the start Entrepreneurship and mental health His decision process to leave Monzo Links: Monzo GoCardless -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
02/03/21·38m 44s

Trailer

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23/02/21·1m 7s

CERN scientist turned founder - Natural Cycles CEO Elina Berglund

“There's no birth control method that is 100% effective and Natural Cycles is as similarly effective as the pill. So it's 93% effective with typical use, and 98% effective with perfect use, meaning that you use protection on the days that the app says.” Before becoming CEO and co-founder of Natural Cycles, the world’s first and only app to be certified as a contraception both in Europe and in the US, today’s Secret Leader, Dr Elina Berglund, was part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson at CERN, which led to the Nobel Prize in physics in 2013.  “I felt like with my understanding of data from particle physics, I can actually develop an algorithm that also learns cycle to cycle and applies more advanced statistical methods to say like, well, I'm definitely not fertile today.” Elina was looking for an effective natural contraceptive and applied her skills from particle physics to create an algorithm that could accurately pinpoint when a woman is fertile. Elina is now on a mission to pioneer women’s health with research and passion, empowering women with the knowledge they need to take charge of their health.  From how to found an app and work with your husband, to building the algorithm without being in beta mode, dealing with unwanted pregnancies while using the app, to her biggest mistakes in the early days. Don’t miss Elina sharing her journey of how she created a product that fundamentally changed the way we choose to live our lives.  “Now I'm looking back at it, I should have listened to my gut more, because my gut was telling me, this doesn't feel right, something feels difficult, this feels heavy. Now when things are actually going well, it feels easy, it doesn't feel hard anymore. So I think I should have listened to my gut and changed things faster.” We chat about: The transition from CERN to contraception How to build trust with the first users Funding and financing Natural Cycles Dealing with unwanted pregnancies Bringing wearable contraception to market -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
09/02/21·39m 51s

Grace Beverley, 23, author, influencer & founder of TALA & SHREDDY

“Both my businesses have really strong values. And those have evolved pretty naturally from my growth coming into those interests of sustainability, of ethics, and saying, well, if I'm consuming something, that's one thing, but if I'm selling it, that's a whole other thing.” Today’s guest on Secret Leaders is not your average 23 year old. Grace Beverley is a Natwest GBEA Young Entrepreneur of the Year and founder of two brands, Tala and Shreddy. A successful female entrepreneur, Grace is shaking up the archaic business world. With a global reach of over 1.5 million, she’s been named first in Forbes 30 under 30’s retail and e-commerce list, at just twenty-three.  At The University of Oxford she set up her first company, B_ND, a vegan friendly resistance band company which has since come under the Shreddy umbrella, an app that gives you workout plans you’ll actually like. And Tala, a sustainable activewear brand that is flying off shelves. But that’s not all, she’s also written a book due out in April called, Working Hard and Hardly Working.  “Everything that we produce is going to be vegan. And that's what we set from the offset. And that was part of our purpose and our pillars and our values. And yet, obviously, that evolved to be so much more than that.” From influencer, to founding B_ND at The University of Oxford, to becoming CEO of two companies. Today’s episode charts Grace’s entrepreneurial journey, how her personal growth perspective has shaped her businesses, and how she’s learned to be a better leader by saying ‘I don’t know’.  “I made this commitment a few years ago when I realised that, okay, I have this opportunity here to travel the world and take pictures for a living. And I don't enjoy that.” We chat about: The genesis of Tala and Shreddy Being an influencer How her two companies overlap Working Hard, Hardly Working The gender divide on social media Why you need to define success for yourself Links: Book - Working Hard, Hardly Working -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
02/02/21·42m 1s

16-year battle to £100m esports team, with Fnatic Founder Sam Mathews

If you’re in need of inspiration and ideas for how to succeed in the eSports world, then don’t miss this insightful episode with the co-founder and CEO of Fnatic, Sam Mathews.  “I'm probably more like the Glazers than I am Alex Ferguson, because I'm kind of running the whole business.” Fnatic is one of the leading eSports teams in the world, and currently, the eSports industry is blowing up, not just because of Sam, but he has definitely contributed towards its success.  But what is eSports and why are over 1.5 billion people around the world so into it?  “[The] games we play on the computer are super engaging, and they're much more engaging in some ways than some of these physical sports, and tactical. And they're also unlimited in terms of imagination.” Not to mention watching people who are exceptionally good at eSports is thrilling in itself, and the top competitors engage with spectators in real time.  From launching Fnatic at uni, to aiming to become a billion dollar company, in today’s episode of Secret Leaders, Sam shares his entrepreneurial journey to date. Including the transition from Neverland to becoming the CEO of Fnatic, how he bought his mum out of the company, fundraising on a $130 million valuation and most recently, creating an eSports partnership with Gucci. We chat about: What eSports are and why 1.5 billion people worldwide play them How he got his Mum working for Fnatic… and how he bought her out Why eSports tournaments are held IRL Creating an eSports partnership with Gucci Fundraising for Fnatic and becoming CEO -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
26/01/21·51m 34s

From launch to IPO in 4 years, with Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber

“Once you see it, you can't unsee it. [Insurance] is something that is 11% of GDP, $5 trillion worldwide, 100% household penetration. And you're like, wow, this has been hiding in plain sight. It’s such a dull industry that nobody's noticed it. Nobody's thought to tackle it.” Until Daniel Schreiber. That is.  So what made a law graduate with no prior knowledge of the insurance industry decide to co-found an insurtech startup in 2016, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange just 4 short years later, more than doubling in valuation on the first day of trading? “It has been a pretty rapid growth, we're talking from standstill to about $200 million in just over four years and doubling every year.” Lemonade isn’t like any insurance platform you’ve ever come across before. Daniel (former president of Powermat) and co-founder Shai Wininger, (Fiverr co-founder) didn’t want to simply follow in the footsteps of what had gone before. They wanted to create a new kind of insurance company, something that improved the user experience for everyone.  “We built [it] from scratch, we were vertically integrated, we built every piece of technology. We're not fronting for some old insurance company, we built every element of the user experience, down to the insurance dimensions, as well as the technological ones.” From lawyer to SanDisk to Power Mat to Lemonade, Daniel has had a portfolio career like no other. His is a truly fascinating journey where the phrase ‘peer to peer insurance’ sparked an idea that rapidly grew into a multi million dollar business. We chat about: The multigenerational Schreiber entrepreneurial mindset Building Lemonade from scratch The spark of peer to peer insurance High speed execution and financing Lemonade The insurance industry is politics Links: Fiverr Powermat -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
19/01/21·56m 25s

Sir Ronnie Cohen: Refugee to father of British venture capital

If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you can’t learn to swim by doing exercises on the beach, says Sir Ronald Cohen. “You can't keep preparing yourself for an entrepreneurial career. You learn by doing. And by your mid to late 20s, you're ready to do that. You don't have to prepare beyond that.” Sir Ronald is Chairman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and The Portland Trust. He is a co-founder director of Social Finance UK, USA, and Israel, and co-founder Chair of Bridges Fund Management and Big Society Capital. But before all of this, he co-founded and was Executive Chairman of Apax Partners from 1972-2005. From immigrant, to grammar school, to Harvard Business School where he discovered Venture Capital, to setting up Apax Partners, to impact investing. Sir Ronald has had quite a life, his story is one of humanity and people. A 45-50 year overnight success story. “Venture capital was a way for me to do good and to do well, and at the same time create jobs and make money.”   After becoming financially independent and at the age of 53, he informed his partners at Apax that he was leaving to deal with more important things. He wanted to help tackle social issues and try to contribute to achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis. So, if you’re looking to create a social impact, Sir Ronald has a lot of sage advice for you - this is one episode not to be missed. “Principles have a cost, but they're always a bargain in the end. Don't try to take shortcuts. Live by your principles, you will attract the best talent, and you will be proud of your achievements.” We chat about: Founding Apax Partners  Funding Dolly the sheep Social investment task force Impact investing Social investment bank The B Corp movement Links: https://www.onimpactnow.org/ Impact: Reshaping capitalism to drive real change -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
12/01/21·55m 52s

Samantha Moyo - addict-turned-shaman who created sober raving

How do you get sober when AA isn’t working for you? Well, if you’re Samantha Moyo, you found the global sober raving movement, Morning Gloryville. A business designed to get people to wake up at 6am and go dancing, sober, to famous DJs such as Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx and Carl Cox.  She sold just 26 tickets to their first event, but such is Sam’s desire to challenge the status quo, she grew the business to a community of 200,000 within 18 months, across 23 cities.  Morning Gloryville was born from her life as Captain Hello Titties, an unsustainable, creative, money-making idea that involved putting on parties on the River Thames. But it wasn’t all plain sailing.  “When you have co-founders, and things aren't well, one of the things that helped us was getting a mediator. We kept doing some practices together just to keep the energy flowing, so that we wouldn't affect the business.” Not only did she part ways with her co-founder, they had too little money for the growing company, and she wasn’t being kind to herself or those at work.  “I wanted to bring conscious clubbing to the world stage and spread love, peace and joy through dancing. And after five years of doing that, and waking up at 6am so many times, I think my spirit was done.” Sam is no longer with Morning Gloryville, today she’s a wellness entrepreneur, with a difference. Now, known as Mystic Moyo, Sam has undergone her own transformation, from burnt out business leader, to activist, to mystic secret leader.  So what can you do to be a more conscious leader inside your organisation? What can you do to keep on the path of curiousness? How can you take a more spiritual path, a more spiritual journey with your leadership? To find out, don’t miss this incredibly insightful episode. We chat about: Captain Hello Titties Building Morning Gloryville The notion of kindness Racial and economic injustice is real in business The birth of Mystic Moyo Links: www.msysticmoyo.com www.samanthamoyo.co.uk -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
05/01/21·51m 29s

DECIEM - a tale of tragedy and beauty with CEO Nicola Kilner

The massive beauty disruptor, DECIEM, was founded in 2013 by “the beauty world’s most exciting disruptor”, Brandon Truaxe, and co-CEO Nicola Kilner. From the beginning, they weren't like any other cosmetic company, they acted more like a startup incubator launching 10 brands in rapid succession.  They were hugely successful, did everything in house, outstripped the competition and grew wildly popular brands like The Ordinary. What Nicola wasn’t prepared for, however, was Brandon’s very public struggles with his mental health in 2018, his death in 2019, and the devastating impact it all had on the company.  “Ultimately, you can't help someone who doesn't want help.” In this heartfelt, honest, emotionally raw episode of Secret Leaders, Nicola shares her incredible entrepreneurial journey to date.  “It was always just trying to get the balance between keeping DECIEM going and trying to be there for Brandon. And people tell you all the time, you just have to wait for the person to want help. It's such a difficult situation to be in, you just have to wait for them to reach rock bottom. But what if they never do or, in Brandon's case, it ultimately ended in the worst possible way.” From founding DECIEM with Brandon, to seeking investment, scaling the business up, and then what happened when Brandon’s mental health took a turn for the worse. After being fired by Brandon, to assuming control of the company once more, Nicola tells the DECIEM story, warts and all, ensuring that Brandon’s legacy lives on. “Brandon would want, you know, he taught us so much about family and being there for each other. So it was kind of, let's just put that back into practice now.” We chat about: Starting DECIEM with Brandon Funding DECIEM with Estee Lauder Working with Brandon before and during 2018 Being fired and then regaining control of the company Communicating through a crisis Links: Brandon Truaxe Avestan -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
29/12/20·1h 1m

Could a startup solve homelessness? With Beam CEO Alex Stephany

Wondering what to give as an unusual gift this year? How about donating in someone’s name to a social enterprise solving homelessness? Simply purchase a gift card for someone from Beam, and help a homeless person get back on their feet.  “There's billions of pounds being spent on homelessness. More than 1,000 organisations are tackling homelessness. There are millions of people in London who care about this issue. And yet still, despite all of this, people are literally dying outside of tube stations.” But how does your donation help someone find a home? Well, it does more than that - through crowdfunding, you donate to people Beam are working with and the money goes directly towards training them in their chosen vocation so they can get back into employment. On the flip-side, Beam is giving scale-ups and corporates access to overlooked talent. “The greatest economic opportunity you can give to people is a sense of self worth and an opportunity to contribute back to society because really, they don't want donations. They want the ability to be in control of their own destiny.” Alex shares the story of the first homeless person he helped, Tony, and how he was the inspiration to scale up Beam.  “I thought, well, if we can do that for one person, then what if we can do that for 100,000, or millions of people? What if we can use technology and operational processes to create this same life-changing intervention for other people at scale?” So, if you’re interested in learning how to solve huge societal problems with tech and new business models while making some money in the process, don’t miss this incredible episode.  We chat about: Founding Beam and its business model Tony’s story Frustrations when running Beam Making money while doing social good Scaling up Beam with tech How to support Beam Links: beam.org -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
22/12/20·54m 56s

HubSpot - how to build a SAAS titan with CEO Brian Halligan

“I think today, if I look at the companies that are doing really well and kind of came out of nowhere, it's when their customer experience is 10 times better than the competition.” If you run a b2b, there’s a high possibility that you’re already a customer of today’s Secret Leader, CEO and founder of HubSpot, Brian Halligan. Founded in 2006, HubSpot has grown to annual revenues of over half a billion dollars, 3000 employees, 70,000+ customers across 100 countries. Brian is also an author of several fantastic books and has been named as one of the best CEOs for diversity and best CEOs for women, before it was trendy in tech.  “Part of my mission in HubSpot isn't just to build a big successful company, but to build a company, my kid, and hopefully someday my grandkids, will be proud of and brag about.” In the early days of HubSpot, Brian found culture an uninspiring topic and famously said, ‘Please, can we never have a chief people officer?’ But even successful startup leopards can change their spots. Brian is now a keen advocate for culture, firmly believing, ‘culture is how people make decisions when you're not in the room. Culture is how you scale.’ So to hear from the inbound marketing legend himself on topics ranging from customer experience to company culture, imposter syndrome to CEO support groups, don’t miss this incredible episode of Secret Leaders.  We chat about: The what and why of HubSpot Never making the same mistake twice Wartime mode vs peacetime mode How to nail customer experience HubSpot culture code How to look after your mental health Links: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
15/12/20·56m 36s

Tabitha Goldstaub - AI, pivots and losing your identity

If you’re concerned about AI and how it could affect your future, then don’t miss Tabitha Goldstaub on this week’s episode of Secret Leaders.  Tabitha is a serial tech entrepreneur, an artificial intelligence industry expert who is chair of the UK government's AI Council, and co founder of CognitionX, which was before COVID, the biggest AI conference in the world, but has understandably had to pivot to an expert advice platform. “It was really clear that there were so many better experts to advise the government, but there wasn't anybody who could be the glue to hold them together. And they needed somebody to do a lot of the legwork. And also, I think they were looking for someone as optimistic as me.” Before that, she co-founded Rightster (now Brave Bison) a global b2b video network for distribution, content-sourcing, audience engagement and monetisation, and now she’s just written a book - How To Talk To Robots, something we could all do with learning.  “I felt like I was at this sort of epicentre where I got to witness the future unfolding in front of my eyes. And I was selfish if I didn't explain it to my mates.” From explaining why she’s written a book about AI for women, to worrying that we won’t use AI to fight climate change, Tabitha is frank, open and incredibly honest about the future of AI. So, if you’re interested in the future of the world and the way that artificial intelligence will impact it, don’t miss this incredibly insightful episode.   We chat about: Chairing the UK government’s AI council at 31 The fear that led her to write How To Talk To Robots The risks and rewards of AI Her biggest fear in AI The issue of trust Pivoting CogX from physical to virtual Links: How To Talk To Robots Cathy O'Neil - Weapons Of Math Destruction -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
08/12/20·51m 58s

Jim Collins - best business author of his generation

“Bill [Lazier] would always remind our students, the most important thing is to do work you love, with people you love. And if you do work you love, with people you love, you win.” Jim Collins is an entrepreneurial researcher, however he’s most well known for being a best selling author of multiple books that frankly, if you're listening to this podcast and you haven't read, you've definitely got your priorities all wrong.  We celebrate all things entrepreneur on Secret Leaders, having been in the game for almost 10 years ourselves. And one of the first books we ever read, as every budding, new or even seasoned entrepreneur should, was Good To Great. The timeless, classic, entrepreneurial handbook written by two experts.  Jim’s latest book, Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0, a revamped and updated version of the original, is an homage to his co-author and late mentor, the inimitable Bob Lazier. “I asked Bill one day, I said, ‘So what makes a great relationship?’ He says, ‘oh, if you ask each person in the relationship, who benefits more from the relationship, they each independently would say, I do’.” Jim, by his own definition, is not normal. But then, we argue, what exceptional leader of industry is? That's why we invite people like him onto this show, so listeners can learn all about them.  And this episode is one of the best. Jam packed full of tasty tidbits and inspiration, you should have your pen ready, because this is bound to fire up your neurons and get your thinking juices flowing.  “Leadership is a responsibility not an entitlement, or decision, not an accident, a matter of willful action, not genetics, whether you learn to lead greatly in the end, is a choice.”  We chat about: Bill Lazier Writing Good to Great in the spirit of relationships Level five leaders The myth of the entrepreneurial temperament  His encounters with Steve Jobs The Stockdale paradox Why Patagonia is such a great company Links: Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0 Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
01/12/20·1h 11m

Atomic Habits - Little things can transform your life

If you've not read Atomic Habits by James Clear, we urge you to stop what you’re doing and go and get it. It's one of those books that once you've read it, you start to think about how those ideas can change your reality.  “The book’s been out almost two years now and has sold over two million copies. And for me, the most gratifying thing is that the ideas are useful. The best thing is to see people using them to build better habits in their own life or to break habits that they've been struggling with for a while.” While James is not the father of thinking about habits, he is an expert on the subject, having built up a newsletter around the topic years before launching his bestselling book.  “I'm not the smartest person, I'm not the fastest person, I’m not the first person to talk about this stuff. But I want to do it in a way that's useful.” By doing this, he's simply a master of demonstrating what best practice looks like and how that impact can impact your future, which above anything else, makes him a person you might want to listen to.  “A habit is a behaviour that's tied to a particular context. And what you start to realise is that you cannot have a behaviour outside of an environment. They all happen within a certain context. Any time the environment changes in a big way, behaviour changes in a big way.” So for everything you need to know about habits and how they can help you be the best version of yourself, don’t miss out on this truly insightful and illuminating episode.  We chat about: Why habits are universally timeless  How Uber was founded on users’ habits What a habit is How COVID has changed our habits Bad habits that leaders should avoid Important habits for startups to avoid  Links: Atomic Habits 3-2-1 newsletter The Outsiders - William Thorndyke -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
24/11/20·47m 46s

Alain de Botton & Anne-Marie Huby: How to do good, better

With host Dan Murray laid up in hospital, this special live episode is hosted by none other than the feisty, joyous force of nature, Resi founder, Alex Depledge.  “We have a foundation at Resi that does pro bono work for architecture. People look at me a little bit sceptical, like, what's the motivation? You can't really earn a profit and do good at the same time. So why is building a for profit company better for society than building a charity?” Alex, alongside special guests Anne-Marie Huby of Just Giving and Alain de Botton of School of Life, discuss social enterprise, building for profit companies for good, and the question of whether this does or doesn't make more of an impact on society than charities. “When you think of the size of the charity sector, which in this country is commendably big, but you look at the wider overall economy, it stands to reason that if we want to live in a more fulfilling, equal, decent society, we're going to have to attend to what companies do.” Both of our guests, Anne-Marie and Alain, share their motivations for why they chose to create their businesses as for profits, rather than as charities, and spoiler alert, it’s not all about financial gain.  “A business that wants to achieve good and make money has a double role, a business that merely wants to make money has a single mission. It's much harder to be a so-called good capitalist, because you're trying to hit two targets. You’ve got to work doubly hard.” Inspirational and insightful, this is another cracking, not-to-be-missed live episode.  We chat about: Churches don't have the monopoly on doing good Good capitalism v bad capitalism Maslow’s hierarchy of needs The core issues with building charities How can we make capitalism work The effective altruism movement Links: https://www.secretleaders.com/alex-depledge https://www.secretleaders.com/alain-de-botton https://www.secretleaders.com/anne-marie-huby -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
17/11/20·1h 8m

Arlan Hamilton - from homeless to VC founder in 3 years

We are all for throwing two fingers up at the establishment, and who better to do that than an LGBTQ, black, woman investor? Meet Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital.  Backstage Capital is a fund that invests in under-estimated founders that are defined as women, people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community, who together represent the biggest economic opportunity for investment. Arlan’s latest book, It’s About Damn Time has been received with critical acclaim, because given the state of play in the world right now, it really is about damn time. She’s an inspiring hustler who’s come to venture capital from a completely adjacent industry.  Just a few short years ago Arlan was homeless and now, 5 years on, her $10m boutique venture fund has invested in over 130 startups. She takes capital from an increasing list of big name investors, such as Mark Cuban, who trust her decision making to back the next generation of founders.  “I didn't believe when they said things like, ‘you're not networked enough’, or ‘you're not connected enough’. I thought that was BS. But I did respect the ones who said, ‘you've got to really get your chops figured out’ and thankfully, no one could be more sure of that than myself, like, no one could be harder on me than I could be on myself.” We chat about: Becoming a venture capitalist Fair feedback during fundraising The ignorant assumptions VC make about underrepresented founders Preparing founders for investment The power of saying no How she maintains her mental health Links: Book - It’s About Damn Time -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
10/11/20·38m 35s

Damian Bradfield & Matt ‘Mills’ Miller: Mental Health and Entrepreneurship Live

Mental health disorders are the global epidemic of our times and according to WHO, the instances of anxiety, depression and suicide rates are climbing, globally. On this special live episode of Secret Leaders, two amazing guests, Damian Bradfield and Mills, open up about their personal experiences with mental health.  “I've come to realise now that everyone has some form of mental health without a doubt. And actually, the more I talk openly about it, the more I realise that many people are in a similar situation. I'm not special in that respect, dealing with life, dealing with being married, having kids, growing up, companies, losing money is hard.” In the words of the iconic Steve Jobs, the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do. But that comes at a price.  “Startup founders are estimated to be twice as likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from ADHD, three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse, ten times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder, twice as likely to have a psychiatric hospitalisation and twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than the general public.” Join us as we do our best to shine a light on the seriousness and severity of mental health without losing touch with the lighter things, and learn the tips, tricks and hacks to dealing with mental health issues from two incredibly successful entrepreneurs. We chat about: Why the image of success sets us up for failure How their mental health disorders manifest Growing a company and living with ADHD Their reasons for going to a therapist Company culture and mental health The link between depression, anxiety and control Links: WePresent App - Collect App - Paper Presentation tool - Paste Book - They fuck you up Book - Johann Hari - Lost Connections -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
03/11/20·1h 16m

John Cleese: How creativity can be applied to business

As an entrepreneur, creativity is the name of your game. And who better to hear from than the king of creativity himself, Mr John Cleese. Yes, that’s right. John. Cleese. You’re welcome.  Where do we begin?  John’s (Mr Cleese?) talents are boundless - actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer and author. The co-founder of the infamous Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the creator and star of Fawlty Towers has taken the time to look back on his writing processes and accomplishments as a series of creative experiences to share and inspire. And he’s distilled his thoughts into a short (an hour long read), beautiful guide he’s cunningly entitled ‘Creativity’.  Even if you have no desire to break into screenwriting, John has lived a lifetime of creativity and there is so much that we mere business folk can learn from him, including his secret process.  “You have to create a space where people don't come in and interrupt. And you have to have a sufficiently long period of time for your initial agitated thoughts to settle, so that you can then play, and play in a very relaxed way, not cudgelling your brains and furrowing your brow, just thinking, I wonder if, what would happen if, and why did I suddenly think of a hippopotamus? That sort of thing.” So grab a cuppa and let John’s wisdom guide you. This one really is a corker to kick the season off with.  We chat about: What we can learn from children about creativity Our emotional facilities aren’t helped by modern living John Cleese’s secret process There’s no such thing as a mistake The importance of rehearsal Resting for creativity Links: Creativity - John Cleese Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind - Guy Claxton -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
27/10/20·51m 40s

Beauty Pie: Meet The Forrest Gump Of Serial Entrepreneurs

Marcia Kilgore is a serial entrepreneur in the truest sense of the term. Not content with creating just one globally renowned brand, Marcia is responsible for Bliss Spa, Soap and Glory, FitFlop, Soaper Duper and now Beauty Pie. But how did she become Queen of Startups? Bliss Spa, her first startup in NYC, saw her give facials to Demi Moore, Courtney Love, Christy Turlington, Bette Midler and Calvin Klein to name drop but a few regulars. She sold this to world leader in luxury products LVMH, before turning her hand a couple of years later to Soap and Glory.  From there she founded FitFlop, Soaper Duper and now Beauty Pie, an exclusive buyers club for luxury beauty products, without the luxury beauty bullshit. “I love the part of a business where you're really struggling to figure something out and it's really hard and you're solving real problems and really moving that dial every day and able to create new things. But when it sort of gets masked out and it's not about creating new things for customers anymore and you get too far away from it and it's charts and spreadsheets, that's not really my thing.” Rather than discuss just one of these behemoths, Marcia is incredibly candid about all of them, talking about the genesis of each, her entrepreneurial journey and the mistakes she’s made along the way.  “There usually comes a time in my businesses where people say, ‘Oh, you've got to stop doing customer interface, you've got to stop doing the copywriting, you’ve got to stop doing the naming of the products’. And actually, that's what I do better than other people. So I shouldn't stop doing the part that I love doing. That was, I suppose the mistake that I've made in the past.” We chat about: What set her on her entrepreneurial path That urban legend about Jean-Claude Van Damme How LVMH wooed her Stopping your brand getting watered down Learning to deal with the big companies Lifting the lid on the beauty industry  -- Sponsors Vorboss - get better internet: https://vorboss.com/secretleaders Vanta - get 20% off security certifications like ISO27001 and SOC2: https://vanta.com/secretleaders Vertice - save on your SaaS or cloud spend ($5k off or a free benchmark) using the code secretleaders: https://www.vertice.one/l/secretleaders -- Newsletter Sign up here: https://secretleaders.email/ You can find our historic newsletters here: https://www.secretleaders.com/episodes
28/07/20·1h 4m

Basecamp: The One Stop Shop For Remote Working

If you created one of the world’s most popular programming frameworks, a framework on which hundreds of thousands of programmers rely to build appli