This week we’re featuring a Q&A with Jason Yeh, Founder and Host of Funded podcast, where he features some of the entrepreneurs you’ve always admired to tell a story you haven’t heard before — how they raised millions in venture capital. Jason talks to Silicon Valley’s stars about how they got strangers to bet on their grand visions in the fundraising gauntlet to get their venture off the ground.
Q&A with Jason Yeh
With your experience as an investor at Greycroft and as a venture-backed startup founder at Tape, what about those experiences inspired you to create Funded?
Having a unique combination of insights from an investor POV and empathy for the founder’s fundraising experience really was the driving force behind creating Funded. I knew that every founder who has raised money has their own crazy story that doesn’t get told in TechCrunch headlines. When I thought about it more, I realized that those stories could be entertaining, inspirational, and cathartic on their own while also being educational if paired with some insights from an investor’s mind.
What is your vision for Funded? How do you aim to impact the startup and venture capital ecosystem with the interviews you are doing?
Funded is just one of a few different initiatives I run through my company Adamant Ventures, and my goal for every one of those initiatives is to make fundraising easier for founders. I’ve been in some form of education/coaching/advising for long enough to know that different people learn in different ways so Funded is a chance to inspire and educate those that engage best through a storytelling medium. If I can help more companies get started and funded, I’ll have achieved my goal.
In the first three episodes of Funded, you’ve interviewed Anthemos Georgiades, Founder/CEO of Zumper, Isharna Walsh, Founder/CEO of Coral, and Lindsay McCormick, Founder/CEO of Bite.
Can you tell us more about the founders you’ll be interviewing for the show and what kinds of lessons you want to uncover for listeners?
The first three episodes cover a wide range of founders and companies and I’m excited about all of them. Before starting, I expected similar lessons and takeaways to be universal with a lot of repetition from episode to episode by design. I want listeners to hear how different founders pitch a wide range of companies with a similar level of passion and excitement. I want them to hear about the same sorts of struggles around finding the right investor for everything from an enterprise software startup to a sexual health company. Because after hearing the same important lessons told by different founders, I think they’ll be more likely to sink in.
On top of the common themes, we’ll always pick out something unique and useful to hear within the context of a particular founder story. The hope is some listeners will see themselves in some of our guests or in the companies they run and be able to apply their unique lessons.
There are a lot of podcasts available for entrepreneurs, what makes Funded different and why should people listen?
There are so many amazing podcasts that cover the journey of the entrepreneur and I think they do a great job of inspiring. Having been through two fundraises myself with crazy stories like sleeping in the hallway of an empty house in SF’s Mission District before meetings with VCs, I was always disappointed to hear founders glaze over that part of the journey. I would hear them essentially “yada yada yada” over what I knew would probably be some of the juiciest stories and think to myself “they could do a whole episode on that!”
No podcast today is focused on the fundraising journey and telling those tales with a storytelling approach. We’re working with a talented producer from Politico’s audio team and the result is an audio experience that really draws you in. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, whether you’re raising money or not, I think we’ve done a great job of putting together a podcast that will be super compelling for everyone.
Now that you’ve recorded your first few interviews, can you share any highlights listeners should look for?
Wow. Too many and while I won’t give away too many so that your readers tune in here are a few gems:
- Hear what it felt like to have people congratulate you for raising a round of funding that actually put the company at risk for raising in the future
- What would it be like to be a female founder and have to ask mostly male investors what their sex lives were like in order to raise money?
- Find out what was going through one founder’s head while on live TV with one of the most successful investor / entrepreneurs in the world pressuring her to make a decision she didn’t think was right.
Do you have any other advice or insights you’d like to add?
I’m excited about doing this podcast telling stories about fundraising for a few reasons:
First, the whole thing is so meta. I tell most founders that fundraising is storytelling. So with Funded, we’re telling stories about the best storytellers in the world who have used what they’ve learned to attract millions of dollars in investment. It makes for fantastically compelling content.
Second, if you’re raising money or planning on it in the future, listening to Funded will give you incredible context for some of the indecipherable fundraising advice you receive or read about on Twitter, blogs, etc. It will help you better understand how to be successful.
And finally, as I’ve learned, so much fundraising advice can be applied to life overall. When you hear the stories of entrepreneurs taking risks, executing strategies, and following their passions while pitching investors, you should start to see the value in a lot of it whether or not you’re raising money. It’s just great life lessons all around.
You can connect with Jason on Twitter @JayYeh.