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Ep 58: Sketchfab Co-Founder on Building Relationships as the Key to Business Immortality

Ep. 58

Started in France, Alban Denoyel knew that the key to his product, Sketchfab, was its influence in the United States. Now a leading platform for 3D and AR models, Sketchfab got a boost while Alban was part of the Techstars Accelerator program. “I think having gone through Techstars really helped us get the credibility we needed to raise money with VCs as first-time entrepreneurs.”


Years later, the key takeaways from Alban’s time in the program still bring success to Sketchfab. Investors won’t just throw money at an idea; it’s about having a rapport, as Alban met some investors two years before they even wrote their checks. “The real key lesson is to build a relationship ahead of when you need some money.”


Listen as David and Alban delve deeper into having resilience and perseverance, switching focuses from building to monetizing a product, the struggles the company faced within the AR market and technology not being ready for their product, and how building relationships helped when Sketchfab was acquired by Epic Games.


Follow Alban Denoyel on Twitter @albn

Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen


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Ep 68: ESG Takeover: Soona CEO and UN PRI Head of Private Equity on How to Engage with Investors

Ep. 68
In this second ESG takeover episode, Dr. Mairi-Jane Fox, who helps lead ESG at Techstars, talks with Soona CEO and Co-Founder Liz Giorgi and UN-sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment Head of Private Equity Peter Dunbar about different aspects of engaging with investors, including investor diligence, transparent conversations, and discussing ESG practices.First, Liz Giorgi explains the development of the candor clause, and how it benefits startup founders regardless of their identity. The candor clause helps facilitate open, honest conversations about investors' practices, and ultimately allows founders to make informed decisions about who they are taking money from.“That kinda conversation is unparalleled in terms of building a better relationship with that investor and just really understanding who you're going into business with in the long run,” Liz Giorgi said.Then, listen as Peter describes what it means for venture capital firms and investors when they become signatories of the UN PRI. Among other requirements, signatories generally work toward implementing six principles for ESG and responsible investing which founders can consider when pitching to them“Given the requirements of being a signatory and the principles themselves, VC signatories should really be looking to engage with startups and founders on ESG topics and be actively considering them in their investment decision-making processes,” Peter said.Follow Liz Giorgi on Twitter @lizgiorgiListen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
7/19/2022

Ep 67: Integrated Capital Strategies Founder Sharon Schneider on Value Integration and Social Entrepreneurship

Ep. 67
We all have a set of principles for how we live our lives. How well are those principles aligned across every facet, though? You might be environmentally conscious but it’s important to ask yourself: Where do you do your banking? Who holds your mortgage?This is the driving point for author Sharon Schneider’s book, Handbook for an Integrated Life: A Practical Guide to Aligning Your Everyday Choices with Your Internal Compass.“If you're just floating along on mainstream American culture, my friend, … you're getting a very me-first, maximize-benefit-for-yourself all-the-time approach. This idea of taking your value and being conscious about how you integrate it into every area of your life for everyday people really became the genesis of the book,” said the Integrated Capital Strategies founder.Listen as Sharon highlights a few of the 7 principles for an integrated life in the book, and how #givefirst and living integrated isn’t always about spending money but intentionally looking at all the places you can live into that value.Also, don’t miss Sharon talking about her experience in Techstars’ Excelerate Labs program in 2012 and how it was a valuable contributor to her career that blends entrepreneurship, business ownership, philanthropic and social change strategy, and impact investing.Follow Sharon Schneider on Twitter @sharonschneiderFollow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohenListen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.