Jason from Bento started a business that prepared and delivered pan-Asian meals on demand. Lauren and Emma from Dating Ring wanted to reinvent online dating. Mary from Saint Harridan made sharp suits for masculine women and trans men. And Mike moved food across international borders, evading employees of a large grocery store chain. This episode, we return to some of the companies we followed in previous seasons and find out how their founders are doing—and what the label "entrepreneur" means to them now.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali is trying to produce the perfect cup of coffee. And he's trying to do it with beans grown in the midst of an active war zone in Yemen. Despite those challenges, his company's first batch earned rave reviews, and sold for $16 a cup at one of the fanciest coffee chains around. But can he turn that early success into a profitable business, or will the challenges of trying to achieve perfection using a supply chain that starts halfway around the world do his young company in? [more inside]
You called with your questions. Alex Blumberg has your answers—about growth, diversity at Gimlet and, oh yeah, that ABC sitcom that's currently being made about the first season of StartUp. [more inside]
In 1983 a guy named Stuart Anders invented a toy that would become a huge hit -- one of the biggest fad toys of a generation. But the toy world can be treacherous, and Stuart's big idea left him broke. Now he's back with a new toy and a surprising ally.
In 2003, Jonathan Abrams was sitting atop one of the hottest new companies in Silicon Valley. He and his website were at the forefront of an industry that would eventually be worth more than $400 billion. So, what went wrong? Let's discuss episode 2, the second part of this episode, as well.
Season Finale. Following his ousting from American Apparel, Dov Charney has been eager to restart and launch his new venture. He has assembled the fabric, the equipment, and the people to help make his new clothing line. Now he needs to find his customer base. [more inside]
This week, Alex receives feedback about his job performance from his co-workers, friends, and family. Some of it is good, some less so. But there is something else that comes up during the review process that shocks him. We explore what happens when you unpack your emotional baggage—or someone unpacks it for you—and you realize the unexpected effect that it has been having on your team. In this final Gimlet-focused episode of season four, we take a raw and intimate look at a defining moment in the trajectory of a CEO.
Growth. It can be exciting, it can be motivating, and it can be really stressful. In this week's episode, we take a look at the tensions that Gimlet's growth spurt is creating. We speak with the team producing one of our upcoming shows to see what it's really like to build a podcast from the ground up. Each of them is being asked to step up to the plate in a way that they never have before, and some are realizing that the support they expected, it just isn't there. People are pushed to their limits, emotions run high, and things that have remained hitherto unsaid are finally aired. [more inside]
A story of asylum, ashes, and acidophilus. [more inside]
The two-part story of ConBody kicks off just as one of the co-founders is about to make his pitch, flashes back to the company's unusual backstory, and then concludes post-pitch. [more inside]
Two men decide to start a company. Everything is going well… until it’s not. That’s the moment they decide to start recording their conversations—painful, awkward, emotional conversations. [more inside]
When a group of college kids in Florida set out to change the music industry, they did not anticipate quite how disruptive they would be. Their mission was a noble one: bring an end to online piracy by offering cheap, convenient, and legal access to music. Their execution, however, was less than thorough. And when you’re dealing with protective music labels, forgetting to dot an “i” or cross a “t” can mean being one lawsuit away from the swift and unceremonious death of your company. [more inside]
A backpack, a camera, and a big idea
Lisa Chow comes back from maternity leave and notices some big changes at Gimlet. And these changes... they aren't all for the better. Lisa talks to Gimlet employees about concerns over power, accountability, and control - things that crop up when you go from startup, to regular company. And she takes those concerns to the bosses.
Gimlet is starting a new line of business, and it's a complicated one: Branded content. As we see in this episode, there are some very real anxieties about how to do this right.
Gimlet is making a big, expensive bet. The kind of bet that could make or break the company. And it's a bet that comes down to one factor: What is Gimlet's competitive advantage? As the company launches its fourth new show, "Surprisingly Awesome," we take a deep dive in to how the show was made.
Under pressure, the Dating Ring founders make a big decision. [more inside]
In online dating, love is not blind. How do deal with customers who make their dating choices based on race, and why the blind date business model didn't work. [more inside]
With funding running low, customers growing irate, and themselves at odds, Dating Ring's founders find themselves in the trough of sorrow and undertake a radical rethink of the company's focus.
Picking up where the last episode left off, at YC's Demo Day, the women of Dating Ring start trying to raise money. At the post-Demo mixer, Emma gets her first (literal) brush with sexism when an investor gropes her and then offers her $50k. Subsequent meetings go better and they manage to raise $400k in angel funds while "riding the wave." Then the tide turns - the investors' questions start getting tougher, and the rejections pile up. The founders begin to wonder - how much of their struggle is due to quality of their product and pitch, and how much is just plain sexism?
First comes love...then comes equity StartUp is a podcast series about what it's really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company. The business is Dating Ring, a dating company that combines technology with old-fashioned matchmaking. The founders are women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. And over the 10 episodes, we'll take you inside that world. Some of the challenges they face are different from Alex's: founder disagreements, hellish fundraising, and sexism. But just like Gimlet's story, theirs is also a transparent account of something that happens everyday in America, but we rarely get to see firsthand: starting a business.
The final episode of Season 1. Alex reviews where he started and where the company is now. He talks to his insightful wife, Nazanin, and investor Chris Sacca. In the second half, Alex and Lisa introduce the company that will be featured in Season 2.
This installment addresses an a question that was brought up in earlier episodes, back before Gimlet was an actual business: are they a technology company or a content company? [more inside]
Alex Blumberg is a former producer for This American Life and Planet Money. Last year he founded Gimlet Media, a podcast network, and hosts its first show, StartUp. “When someone starts talking about something difficult, when they get unexpectedly emotional, your normal human reaction is to sort of comfort and steer away. To say, ‘Oh I’m sorry, let’s move on.’ What you need to do, if you want good tape, is to say, ‘Talk more about how you’re feeling right now.’ It feels like a horrible question to ask. It feels like you're going against your every instinct as a decent human being to go toward the pain that this person is experiencing.” Thanks to TinyLetter, Lynda and Alarm Grid for sponsoring this week's episode. [more inside]
Gimlet Media addresses a company mistake. [more inside]