It’s YC Demo Day week, which has us nostalgic for the conversations Found hosts have had with founders who have been through the famed accelerator program. In every episode of Found, hosts Darrell Etherington and Jordan Crook dig into a founder’s background, the peaks and pits of starting and running a company, and relationships and mentors who have helped along the way. Unsurprisingly, when a YC founder comes on, the conversation often touches on how their time in the accelerator was a formative experience for their company and them as leaders. So, if you’ve ever wanted to hear YC founders unpack their three months, best lessons and general learnings, buckle up.
Here are some of our favorite conversations with these founders, in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. Hana Mohan from Magic Bell
In this episode, Darrell and Jordan talked with the co-founder and CEO of MagicBell, a startup tackling the monumental task of solving notifications for other software products. They get into Hana’s path to entrepreneurship, being labeled ‘a high-maintenance employee,’ taking part in Y Combinator, and her experience transitioning in the startup world.
We caught up with Hana more recently to see how MagicBell has been growing. Check out that episode here.
2. Elizabeth Ruzzo from adyn
We’re in the business of talking to very impressive people who are working to solve incredibly tough problems — but Elizabeth Ruzzo, founder and CEO of adyn, may be one of the most impressive founders we’ve talked to. Not only did she develop the only test for women to ensure they are prescribed the birth control that will be the least likely to have detrimental side effects, she also founded the company and fundraised as the sole employee of the company. She talked with Darrell and Jordan about the challenges she faced as a solo founder/employee raising money for a solution for birth control, why she decided to leave academia and the complicated regulatory maze she had to navigate to get adyn off the ground.
3. Vivian Wang from Landed
In this episode, Landed founder and CEO Vivian Wang came on to talk about her mission to connect blue-collar workers with high-quality job opportunities. Landed handles the hiring process from recruiting to vetting to setting up interviews and facilitating a feedback loop for the general managers to make their workplaces more desirable. They’re also improving employees’ financial well-being by helping them upscale once they’ve landed the job. Darrell, Jordan and Vivian talked about how COVID showed us all how essential blue-collar workers are and made apparent how underserved those workers are and how she plans to improve the experience in these jobs by helping them access pay quicker, build credit and decrease turnover.
4. Laura Crabtree from Epsilon3
Space enterprise founder, Laura Crabtree, talked with Darrell and Jordan about starting Epsilon3 and how they are helping companies across the space industry (and beyond) plan, track and record their large projects and mission. They discussed their growing market fit, building relationships with your investors and the benefits of having three founders.
5. Yusuf Sherwani from Quit Genius
Yusuf Sherwani is the CEO and one of three doctor/co-founders of Quit Genius, an app that uses CBT therapy and other proven methods to help patients tackle addiction issues. He talked with Darrell and Jordan about starting a telehealth company before COVID and the regulatory hurdles they had to navigate and how they convinced investors that it was crucial to be research-led when it comes to building a patient-focused product.
6. Carolyn Mooney from Nextmv
Carolyn Mooney is the co-founder and CEO of Nextmv, which helps companies make efficient decisions on a mass scale — think Amazon distributing packaging or Uber plotting a route for an uber pool. In this episode, she talked with Darrell and Jordan about Nextmv’s software that doesn’t just optimize decision-making and route planning but also enables engineers to work on many different types of teams. Plus they discuss how coaching high school volleyball has made her a better leader and forced her to prioritize a work-life balance.
7. Leigh Honeywell from Tall poppy
Leigh Honeywell has spent her career trying to prevent bad things from happening to people on the internet. She’s spent time at Slack, Heroku and Microsoft and is well-versed on both the technical and human sides of online harassment and has seen firsthand how it can escalate to hacking or worse. That’s how she came up with Tall Poppy, a platform that helps organizations with a public-facing workforce, like media orgs, actively prevent this type of escalation. The Tall Poppy model turns what would be an unscalable business into a fast-growing startup.