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The startup investment landscape is changing and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to upside. Hello. Hello, hello and welcome to the upside podcast, the first podcast finding upside outside of Silicon Valley. I’m Jay Clouse and I’m accompanied by my co-editor, Mr. Eric Hornung.
Eric Hornung: 00:39
I like that. No need for any fancy nicknames. You know, because I got a new title
Jay Clouse: 00:45
New title, stacking the titles
Eric Hornung: 00:47
Stack in the titles. My business card is, it’s a foldable business card now because I just have so many titles
Jay Clouse: 00:54
Bi-fold or tri-fold, which wallet you fitting it in?
Eric Hornung: 00:57
You know, I’m doing quad fold because I got so many titles. I got titles for days.
Jay Clouse: 01:02
It’s like the a disposable razor industry. Just add a new, add a new razor at a new blade. Let’s go quatro
Eric Hornung: 01:09
and then, yeah, quatro and just wait until we release something new and I will give myself a new title and then it’ll add another blade. That’s how I do it Jay. I just, I just add titles. It’s what I do.
Jay Clouse: 01:21
Uh, speaking of releasing something new, we just released something new.
Eric Hornung: 01:26
Yeah, it’s called the update and it is awesome I think. I think it’s awesome. Maybe I’m biased.
Jay Clouse: 01:32
I agree. And I’m also biased, but instead of just, you know, dropping an episode to let you guys know a, we released this thing, we thought we’d go a little bit deeper with what is apparently called the six W’s
Eric Hornung: 01:46
six W’s, five W’s. I, I’m very confused on how many W’s they’re using because what we have is who, what, where, when, why, how. There are six W’s in that, but the last one doesn’t start with a w, so it’s just, it’s very confusing. Wikipedia gives us three different names for it. The five W’s, which just kicks out how, which I think is an important question. The six W’s, which includes how, but how does it start with a w and then there’s the five W’s one H, you know, it’s just someone needs to come up with a better moniker.
Jay Clouse: 02:18
Like, like the cardinal questions. I’m going to call it the cardinal questions.
Eric Hornung: 02:22
You’re going to call it the cardinal questions. Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll run with it. I hate it, but I’ll run with it.
Jay Clouse: 02:28
Who, what, when, where, why and how. Talking about the update, I jumped into slack and found when did we start talking about the update and do you have a guest? Do you have a guest at the date?
Eric Hornung: 02:40
I would say late November
Jay Clouse: 02:43
November 5th actually
Eric Hornung: 02:44
early November. Wow.
Jay Clouse: 02:46
November 5th we were talking about how we can add more value to our portfolio companies and saying what if we send out a quarterly email that had news about those portfolio companies and we kind of talked about it and said there can be more to that. I liked that but let’s yes and that a little bit and add something to it. And we came to a point of saying what if we had a quarterly publication in general that added value to our portfolio companies in also allowed us to write about some of the trends in things that we’re seeing in the communities that we study outside of Silicon Valley.
Eric Hornung: 03:24
I think this kind of comes on the back of two other things we were thinking about as well and then we just added a selfish twist. As you just mentioned, we send a internal updates to everyone who’s been on the podcast every month just about what’s going on at upside. Our idea from that originated from the monthly updates that investors sometimes requires sometimes suggest from companies and we look at our stakeholders as being the people who have been on the show. So we want to do a good job by them and keeping them up to date on what’s happening with us so that their episodes become worth more and their association with us makes their brand stronger. So that we’ve seen some really good follow on from is that constant communication. We wanted to turn something like that externally and we knew that we would be doing, oh, this is a little bit of a leak, but we’ll be doing 15 months follow up episodes, which are smaller since Jay and I and every episode with what do you want to see in 6 to 18 months? We’re going to be doing at about 15 months a loop in with those companies to see how they’ve changed, how they’ve grown and evaluate j and i’s deal memos, which Jay is going to be interesting because I’m sure we have some bad takes.
Jay Clouse: 04:46
Also, I’m going to be looking for revenue as you know, so after some discussion of how we wanted this to look and feel, we talked about maybe it’s something that’s hard copy and sent. Then we talked about, no, let’s turn it into this web version thing called issue and I said, no, that looks terrible. Let’s make it a website. Eric, where did we land? What is the update?
Eric Hornung: 05:05
Well, we landed on a really cool format. I think the update is a curated quarterly publication of editorial stories and trends happening outside of Silicon Valley and it’s done in a way that kind of makes it feel like an online magazine mixed with a web page. I think we stole a lot of this from first round to be honest, but I really like how it came out and it feels different.
Jay Clouse: 05:31
Yeah, I definitely look to first round in terms of some design inspiration. Not a developer, not a designer. Did my best. You guys let me know how I did. Check out, check out the website and let me know how he did. You can tweet at us at upside FM or @jayclouse if you think it’s terrible.
Eric Hornung: 05:48
We started this idea of what it was going to look like with three simple sections and Jay, we ended with like seven or eight sections.
Jay Clouse: 05:58
Yeah, kept growing.
Eric Hornung: 05:59
So our first three sections we wanted to hit where host editorials, guests, editorials and pod co news articles. Let’s start with host editorials and just kind of walk through the update and how it actually evolved.
Jay Clouse: 06:11
Yeah, so Eric and I each took on writing and editorial. My piece was comparing what we’ve learned about platform from Stephanie Manning and some others to communities, that’s what I wrote about
Eric Hornung: 06:24
And I wrote about the polarization of thought and theory as it applies to startup communities and how maybe a better answer exists in the middle. Then we had a featured pod folio company and this quarter we featured script drop it company based in Columbus, Ohio that seen some rapid growth over the last year since we spoke to them back in April. They were one of our very, very early episodes, not the initial release but our fourth episode.
Eric Hornung: 06:56
This was kind of cool. It was like being a journalist.
Jay Clouse: 06:59
It was very much like being a journalist. It was, it was an interview with Nick that we then transcribed into a written piece, dusting off the old journalism skills for that one.
Eric Hornung: 07:09
I’ve never written anything like this, so I appreciate you taking on most of the legwork to get that one across the finish line.
Jay Clouse: 07:17
Then we moved into our guest editorials. We have three contributors in this issue. We had Allie Felix writing about how to form relationships with investors before you need their money. We had Eric Berg speaking about growing up in fly over country and why he’s moved back to the Midwest as an investment opportunity and we had Monique via in Nashville speaking about the friends and family round and kind of a warning for founders not to force a friends and family round.
Eric Hornung: 07:46
I am incredibly excited about the prospects for this section and upcoming updates because of how amazing these three editorials turned out. I think that man we got, we got lucky with some awesome people in our network Jay for sure.
Jay Clouse: 08:04
Then we moved on to some articles that highlight the trends in different parts of the country outside of Silicon Valley. These aren’t articles that we wrote, but they are well written articles in different publications across the country that we thought tell a good well rounded or insightful story of what’s what’s trending in different communities across the country
Eric Hornung: 08:25
And I think this is important because when we get to the Who in a second you’ll see that not everyone has their finger on the pulse like Jay and I do, where we are talking with people from, I think it’s upwards of 25 communities now, Jay on a monthly basis. So these are some of the, the hot button articles that will give you a sense at a high level what’s happening outside of Silicon Valley, New York and Boston.
Jay Clouse: 08:53
Then we have this real meaty section where Eric did a ton of research highlighting recent news articles for each of our podcast.
Eric Hornung: 09:02
Yeah, I went through all of the Google news history, Twitter feeds blogs. Pretty much everything I can find for each podco from the date that it was published or the date we record the interview in some cases to today and found the one article that I thought was the most interesting, most significant, most meaningful, and we linked to that article. So going forward, this will happen on a 3 month cadence and not on a 12 month cadence, but in issue one there is an article for every podcast
Jay Clouse: 09:38
Then we have this weird little curveball have a section where Eric and I just kind of shared a little gift, which is five podcasts that he and I have listened to over the last several months and highly recommend
Eric Hornung: 09:53
I think that, no, I don’t think this, I think everyone thinks this podcast discovery is broken and there are some people who are doing a better job than others, but right now the best way to find great podcasts is through curated lists, especially episodes. So Jay and I tossed her hat in the ring and we said, hey, if you value our opinion, well here’s a little bit more of it. Here are some podcasts we like our consensus pick, which is the only one well mentioned on this podcast, was an invest like the best podcasts with Eugene Way and you’ll have to go check out the rest of the article to find the
Jay Clouse: 10:42
Real weirdo shows. And then we end the update with a section for those who are real startup junkies, a few reports put out by different organizations and other publications that dive into a lot of things like state of the ecosystem for their communities or surrounding communities. Just more, you know, kind of further reading on the subject.
Eric Hornung: 11:05
There’s just so much incredible work done in this space and no one’s really centralized it. So I think that that’s kind of what the update does is it pulls in a lot of these voices into one space and gives them a wider platform for discovery.
Jay Clouse: 11:22
And the great thing about it is since Eric and I are just basically taking the role of observer and learners in this space, we don’t have an agenda to push forward really, and so we get to just push forward what we’re learning and highlight those trends and insights in a more unbiased way. Then you’re going to find in most publications
Eric Hornung: 11:44
Right, we don’t have a venture fund where we have to support a certain thesis. We don’t have an ecosystem that we work for. We aren’t selling anything. Which Jay, maybe we should fix that because money sounds great.
Jay Clouse: 11:58
My girlfriend was just telling me that she wants a shirt. It’s it’s time for merge.
Eric Hornung: 12:03
You guys want merge? Audience. If you want merge like our link on Instagram. I don’t know. How do people sell merge
Jay Clouse: 12:10
if you won’t merge tweet at us @upsidefm and say, I want merge and then we’ll say, okay. It sounds like it’s time to design some merge.
Eric Hornung: 12:16
Yeah, and we won’t let Jay design the shirt. I don’t know if you guys heard but terrible design.
Jay Clouse: 12:21
Yeah, let’s not talk about it instead. Let’s talk about who the update is for.
Eric Hornung: 12:26
I think in a very succinct sentence, the update is for outsiders and for insiders looking out. What I mean by that is it’s for the people who are outside of Silicon Valley, New York and Boston, who want to see what other communities are doing, what other companies are doing and get a feel for how other people are thinking about things that they might see as well. I also think it’s for people who are insiders, so people in Silicon Valley, in New York and Boston who are looking out for whatever reason. Maybe it’s an investment opportunity, maybe it’s a, is it the time, right? For me to move back to family, is there enough opportunity in my home state or home city that I could branch out from what I’ve learned in these big cities in boomerang back
Jay Clouse: 13:16
I’ll tackle the how here, how it’s being made. We covered a lot of that in our explanation of the update and how it’s come together. A big part of this was reaching out to guest contributors who are in different parts of the country who represent different groups so we can have a holistic well rounded view of entrepreneurship in different startup communities outside of Silicon Valley and so part of that was just outreach on our part, but moving forward we are open to sourcing some of those articles from contributions of you guys. If you’re interested in contributing to a future version of the update, you can go to the website upside.fm/update/contribute. It’s also in the footer of the website. We have a super short form. If you have an idea that you think would make a good editorial, you can send it to us. If we like your idea and we think that there’s a fit, we’ll ask you to submit a draft and there’s a timeline on that website as well for the next version of the update. But basically once we sourced those ideas and those contributors, we gave a deadline for them to submit their first drafts to us. We gave them some remarks and some proposed edits. They signed off on it and then it was just a lot of building in WordPress, my friend.
Eric Hornung: 14:36
We’re also looking at interns for the update, so if you are someone who maybe you want to help but you don’t think you have an article yet to contribute, but you want to learn a lot in probably a month long sprint, we would love to hear from you. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk about what that looks like.
Jay Clouse: 14:54
So Eric, when can listeners expect to see a new issue of the update
Eric Hornung: 15:00
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday? I don’t know. I just always wanted to say that, but it’s not true. No. So issue 1 of the update is out right now. It was out on March 1st and going forward it will be every quarter. So it’ll come out June 1st and then September 1st and then December 1st. December 1st is going to be rough because my birthday is November 29th which means that there might be a lot of typos on December issue, sorry. But regardless of when it comes out, we’re trying to make the content as evergreen as possible, so obviously the news articles will be a little stale, but the editorials will have lasting relevance
Jay Clouse: 15:44
And to round out our six W’s here. Where can you find it? You can go to upside.fm/update right now that redirects to issue one in the future. That will give you a navigation to all issues of the update, but for now, if you go to upside.fm/update, you can read issue one. We would love to hear your thoughts. You can tweet at us @upsidefm. You can email us email@example.com and if you enjoy it, we ask that you do one simple thing, Eric, and what does that?
Eric Hornung: 16:14
We ask that you go to our Twitter and on our Twitter we have a pinned tweet. If you could hit retweet on that tweet, I would mean a lot to us.
Jay Clouse: 16:25
Actually. We asked two simple things then because yes, absolutely retweet that tweet. Appreciate that and also share it.
Eric Hornung: 16:31
Well, it doesn’t that doesn’t that do the sharing.
Jay Clouse: 16:33
That’s one way of sharing.
Eric Hornung: 16:34
Okay, so extra credit after you hit that retweet, shared another way. That would be awesome. One final thing as Jay and I are hopping on the plane, Jay, where are we going to be this week?
Jay Clouse: 16:47
We’re going to be at south by southwest where we have a panel with Rachel Carpenter of in Intrenio who I believe was episode 24 or close. We have Brandon Bryant of Harlem capital in New York. He’s a Forbes 30 under 30 and we also have Andy sparks of Holloway in San Francisco, also a Forbes 30 under 30 and our topic for south by southwest and our panel is geography versus investing, should location matter. So if you’re at south by southwest you can come to our panel on March 12th at 11 o’clock local time. We’d love to see you there. You can find on the schedule, we’ll also post a link on our Twitter and probably on the website.
Eric Hornung: 17:28
It’s probably goes without saying, but thank you to all the listeners who voted for this panel. The panel is super on brand and we appreciate all of the listeners who voted on the panel when it was in the panel picker stage. We haven’t forgot. We really appreciate you guys going out of your way to vote for us. We’re really excited about this opportunity.
Jay Clouse: 17:48
Awesome. Well check out the update. We hope you like it. We hope if you like it, you share it with a friend and we’ll talk to you next week. That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening. We’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s guest, so shoot us an firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Twitter @upsidefm. We’ll be back here next week at the same time talking to another founder in our quest to find upside outside of Silicon Valley. If you or someone you know would make a good guest for our show, please email us or find us on Twitter and let us know and if you love our show, please leave us a review on iTunes. That goes a long way in helping us spread the word and continue to help bring high quality guests to the show. Eric and I decided there were a couple of things we wanted to share with you at the end of the podcast and so here we go. Eric Hornung and Jay Clouse are the founding partners of the upside podcast. At the time of this recording, we do not own equity or other financial interest in the companies which appear on this show. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of Duff and Phelps LLC and its affiliates Unreal Collective LLC and its affiliates or any entity which employ us. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. We have not considered your specific financial situation nor provided any investment advice on this show. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Last Friday, March 1, we released issue one of the update. In this week’s episode, we explain why and go behind the scenes of how it came together.
At upside, we focus on startups, startup communities, and startup investing outside of Silicon Valley. We have our ears to the ground, arms wide open, and platform ready to tell the stories of amazing founders, venture capitalists, and community builders from across the country who are tackling problems in their own unique way.
From the outside, it seems that our communities aren’t being understood.
So we launched the update, a publication featuring editorials, trends, and stories happening outside of Silicon Valley. Our contributors live in the world outside of Silicon Valley and we think you’re going to love their genuine perspective.
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