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roll-angle Episode Transcript
00:00 A leading cause of death among startups, is founders that build interesting products that don’t solve market. 00:24 We believe that as much as NDP are required, the way they’re being approached, is incorrect. As a result, MVP is becoming more of a reason why startups fail. Matt Hunckler 00:42 Hey, Patrick and fans, welcome to episode 67 of powderkeg igniting startups, the show for entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators building remarkable tech companies in communities outside of Silicon Valley. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler, and today we’re talking with Andrew Goldner, who is a founding partner of growth X, a venture capital firm that invests in post revenue, capital efficient b2b SaaS, and marketplace startups. They currently have more than 40 companies in their portfolio, and we actually have one of their portfolio companies on the show today. I’ll tell you more about that. But first, I want to tell you that I’m super excited to share this conversation because Andrew has been in the technology sector since 1998. He brings a wealth of experience and information and insight. He’s been based in New York City, Hong Kong, Singapore, Palo Alto, and now Nashville, Tennessee. He began his career in technology as a lawyer for the early internet pioneers in search, ad tech, SAS and others while practicing law. He left private practice to join DoubleClick leading up to the Google acquisition and then co founded a financial news business at Thomson financial, leading to the Reuters acquisition. I could go on and on about his accomplishments, but also want to just kind of give you a high level that Andrew is a Kauffman fellow regional board member for Venture for America. He also teaches venture capital at Vanderbilt own Graduate School of Management, and is just an all around great guy. So Andrew and I are going to dive into how tech companies can drive growth by building product development roadmaps to integrate customer feedback. We’re also going to talk about how to create sustainable growth. It’s a recurring theme throughout this entire episode. And in the second half of the show, we’ll talk with Shashank polygala, a Nashville based serial entrepreneur and founder of five why’s solutions and CEO of boss framework, which happens to be a growth X portfolio company. It’s the first time on the show that we’ve had both an investor and one of their portfolio companies. And I love the dialogue we get into here, we talk about how shank has leveraged product development to create many successful ventures. So let’s get started. Andrew, thanks for being here today. 02:47 I am grateful to be here. Matt, thank you for the opportunity. It’s always good to be with powderkeg. Matt Hunckler 02:51 Well, and you had a little bit of a journey. A little bit of an adventure, driving up to Indianapolis now 02:58 from telling you that story. Do I have to tell that to your listeners? Yeah, absolutely Matt Hunckler 03:03 have to. 03:06 Yeah, it was definitely a journey from Nashville to Indianapolis last night, I pushed the range of my electric vehicle to its limit. And, and had a bit of a scare, you know, with my own shortening runway. Let’s say that, Matt Hunckler 03:24 I like it. Well, I think we’ll be able to dive into the topic of shortening runway here on the podcast, but different kinds of runway. I’m really excited to have you here, Andrew, because you were on the podcast, from our Live episode that we recorded in Nashville. Yeah. Talking a little bit about the community in Nashville and how that’s evolving. Yeah. But today, we get a chance to kind of really dive into what’s in your brain from working with all of these startups from all over the world that you’ve invested in, that you’ve coached the large enterprises that you’ve helped coach along the way, 03:59 you don’t want to expose my brain to your listeners? Matt Hunckler 04:01 Oh, I think I do. Think I do. I’m super excited about it. Because obviously, you are a huge proponent of focusing on growth as a startup and growth at every stage, really. And you gave me some of the best feedback on my pitch deck when I was working on the pitch deck early on this year. And so I wanted to sort of share some of that feedback that you gave to me. And a lot of it was focused on understanding who your customer is. Why is it important to understand who your customer is? And what are some of the ways that you’ve coached entrepreneurs to go even further than maybe sort of just a basic persona? 04:45 I mean, there’s a lot of reasons why it’s important and I appreciate you ask a question because I think it’s a critical one. You know, we know now statistically, what we have felt as entrepreneurs for a long time, which is why we started growth X CB Insights has been reaffirming that for years that the leading cause of death among startups is founders that build interesting products that don’t solve market needs. Right build stuff people want and will pay for. So at its most basic level, it’s critical, especially in the age of Applied Technology, where it’s so much easier and cheaper to build products. And so many people know how to build products, that you start the journey by validating your hypotheses about the problems that you’re solving. Do those people actually have the problem you think they do? And is that problem as large as you think it is? That has to be the first part of your journey? To take your idea and try to create a business out of it? Matt Hunckler 05:59 Are you are you sort of a by the book Lean Startup? Or like, do you need to sell it, literally sell it for revenue before doing any sort of building? Oh, I 06:09 don’t listen, I listen, I think Eric’s principle in Lean comes down to making sure you get a full turn of the build, measure, learn, cycle, as quick as you can, and as efficiently from a runway perspective as you can. period could be an example of Well, I mean, I think the point from Lean is essentially the back to solve a problem and not just build something interesting. And that is with feedback. And the only way to get real feedback is to take a real product and put it in front of real customers, period. I think over time, there has been a perversity, to the very principles that Eric popularized. With the Lean Startup approach, most namely the minimally viable product, we’ll talk about that later. And so shank is is is very well placed to talk about why the MVP process is broken. But the reasoning behind it has never been stronger, get a full turn to that bit, build, measure, learn feedback cycle, real customers, real product, real feedback, and, and iterate and validate what what has, has been kind of coined, you know, the most critical, the most difficult the most challenging hypotheses you have. So I think it was Ave from Twitter, that talked about needing to make sure you use the MVP solely to test the most critical hypotheses. And so I think that’s really, really important. And so I think that that part of the lean startup movement is never been more important, because we live in the age of Applied Technology 20 years ago, when you started a company, and there were very few people that knew how to do it. And that there weren’t, there was no who wrote Heroku there was no GitHub, right? There weren’t all of these tools that have been created to help make the product development process more efficient. And oh, by the way, the technology was complex and expensive. And so it made sense to raise money from series ABC as the prototype of product. But now there’s really no excuse to do that. And very few will, unless you’re doing hardware, or science or another Capitole intense type of initiative. But I think the other part of your question, which is also very important, and certainly a lot more, I think geeky and does not get talked about nearly as much as the lean startup is that not all revenue is created equally. And that’s another reason why talk talking about customer and starting with customers a very important thing. And I appreciate the intro and the emphasis on growth. And that’s why we put that word in the name of our fund. That was quite purposeful. But I think what is damaging to entrepreneurs globally, and maybe even more so in the nascent startup ecosystems that are the future, such as Indianapolis, Nashville and Cincinnati. And and Louisville. Is this idea of scale, getting shoved down your throat Fortunately by people like me, or I should see VCs but certainly not people like me. Matt Hunckler 10:10 You don’t categorize yourself in that group? 10:12 Well, I just think that I think we do. I think growth X purposefully takes a different approach. And we are trying to innovate. But I also think that we need to give respect where it’s due. And the progenitors of our asset class on Sandhill Road, we’re building on the backs of those giants, we’re looking to learn from what they’ve done, and do it better in a way that’s, you know, certainly more thoughtful in a way that we think is more long term in a way that we think is more inclusive, the responsibilities that we hold as innovation investors go far beyond the returns that we produce for our LPs, but how we do it, and who we invite into this community of entrepreneurs. So that’s a separate subject, but I would, I would say that we’re building on our on the backs of giants when we do that. I mean, after all, as humans, right, our responsibility is to evolve and get better, couldn’t agree more. But back to the relatively mundane comment of growth and revenue, well, not not all revenue is created equal, that not all revenue is created equal. And you you need to have something scale, a bolt, sure. And revenue at all cost. And revenue of any kind is not and should not be the type of revenue that you as a business owner want to pursue. And as a venture capitalist, we will not find Matt Hunckler 11:43 that particularly more important in middle America and the heartland than it is on say, the coasts or do you think it’s sort of across the board? 11:52 Well, the subsidy of venture capital, masks, bad behaviors. It gives founders an opera tunity, potentially to pursue less efficient paths, because they can. And, you know, necessity is the mother of invention. You know, the example I always use when I get to this part of the conversation with people is when I was privileged to be the publisher of Reuters news, traveling the world spending time in the various newsrooms, and invariably 20 or so minutes after the pleasantries meeting with the bureau chief, and the senior editors in the Bureau, the conversation would turn to why they just don’t have enough budget. To accomplish the goals that either the company was asking them to do, or the things they really wanted to do. It very quickly became a conversation about how they just simply didn’t have the budget. And that was why. And it struck me as interesting. And as I thought about it, highly relevant that the one place in the world I was based in Asia, the one place in the world that I went that I never heard, that was India. Never once that I hear from the senior team in India, that they would be able to do more with budget. And when you step back and look at the society, and look what people have been able to accomplish and what they brought together and done. And as a Westerner when you go there, it is chaotic. It’s what I refer to as a scientifically unprovable hypothesis. It should just consume itself like a black hole, but it doesn’t it thrives. And why do you think that is? I think, because necessity is the mother of invention. And I think you have a community of individuals who are just getting busy with getting on with it. And the strife that they experienced, simply getting from their home to the office. Having a home having an office, doing without the things that we as Westerners take for granted every single day, electricity that won’t turn off, you know, clean water that runs. But they’re just focused on getting on with it. And so the those that have found that success, it doesn’t, it doesn’t occur to them about what they could be doing more if they just had the resources, they’re crushing it with the resources they have. And so I think for the founders, when you raise venture capital, when you have when you go out and seek money, but your problems aren’t those that money can solve. It creates, it creates a mask that you can hide behind. And, you know, are one of our founding partners of growth that xCO bunker to find out what became has the same that we take to heart all the time. And that’s traction effort Delta. He’s an industrial engineer. So he has that wonderful kind of Industrial Engineering brain. And so what you and I would refer to as the most impact for the least effort, he calls traction effort Delta, when he was building his company, and by the way, will only raise $90,000 from his boss. Wow, that’s it and created what became Wow, why don’t is But when Barry Diller bought the name, they just put it on wills company. So what we know is Well, bunker bill, he had a whiteboard like you do in your room here. And it was their war room. And written on that whiteboard from start every day do not erase was most money, least work. And that wasn’t laziness. And it wasn’t just being driven by the almighty dollar. But it was their it was their communication there. That’s how they telegraph the traction effort, delta. And by the way, he grew what became matched 30% month over month for three years. Matt Hunckler 16:11 Wow. Yeah, that’s, that’s some serious traction, 16:15 some serious, serious traction. And so I think the reason I tell that story, and the reason that we take it to heart fundamentally at growth, x is that when you have limited time and limited money, you better get crack a lackin on what’s most efficient. And that is about following the scientific method. It’s not about strategic wild ass guesses or swags. It’s about hypotheses. It’s about data. And it’s about learning and learning precedes revenue. So that what you then are growing, or scaling, is profitable, predictable, and not just any other type of revenue. Matt Hunckler 16:55 And are those the two main variables you really want to look at when you’re looking at revenue? 17:01 Well, for us venture capitalists, you know, my goals are set by my I’ve been entrusted to spend, for one objective, and that’s to create venture returns. And so I do think it’s important that we always qualify the conversation. And a venture capitalist should always qualify their feedback. Because what’s a real business? What’s a good business is very different than what’s venture capable. And you know, we’re proud of growth x to be helping entrepreneurs create economic security for their families, to create prosperity, right to create jobs, in addition to creating venture returns for our LPs, the reason I bring that up is, for us, the three dimensions of revenue are profitable, predictable, and scalable. But that’s because we’re venture capitalists and trusted with money that is meant to perform as the venture asset class, which is very big, very fast. But, you know, I think we’ve talked about this before, my definition of an entrepreneur is anybody who wants to work in their own store, not somebody else’s period, that is an entrepreneur, that same entrepreneur does not have to want 20 stories in six countries in two years. That’s a venture capable entrepreneur. That’s a certain type of entrepreneur that is a subset of the capital E entrepreneur. And that venture capital entrepreneur does not have higher standing. And that’s the narrative that’s leaking out of Silicon Valley that I want to be very careful that the great communities like what you have powered in Indianapolis and now around the region, and places like Nashville and Cincinnati. Silicon Valley still owns the venture capital asset class, although that’s changing too. And so I picked up a whole nother podcast, but currently, that’s that’s, you know, the prevailing winds of venture are blown from Silicon Valley, the trends, everything Matt Hunckler 19:09 still 75% of venture capital comes from just three states that it states. 19:13 That’s exactly that’s exactly right. And when you and you and when you boil it down, it’s not just three states. It’s three little places. Three little roads, Matt Hunckler 19:21 Austin, we work yeah, Sand Hill Road in the valley. 19:25 That’s right with with a handful of little buildings filled with white men. Let’s just be very clear about that. And, but that Silicon Valley owns venture capital, they do not own entrepreneurism. Lifestyle is not second class citizen of entrepreneur. And that’s the narrative that I think we need to be very careful of. So as a venture capitalist, yes, I look for both profitable, predictable and scalable because I’m looking for the entrepreneur that wants to work in their own store. I’d have 20 stores in six countries in two years so I can return venture profits to my LPs. And in turn, they allow me to keep being a venture capitalist. But certainly profitable predictable, not just the amount of revenue at the earliest stage of a company, it’s about, it’s about learning, not revenue, Matt Hunckler 20:18 when you talk about Silicon Valley, and you talk about where you are now in Nashville, personally, but I know your partners are in the Valley and elsewhere in the United States. And I want to talk about one of your portfolio companies here when we bring them on in just a second. But your career in of itself is is pretty entrepreneurial. You’ve been all over the world, and on both coasts, overseas, but you decided to settle in middle America in the heartland? And I’m sure there’s some personal reasons for that. But I know there are some business reasons for that as well. Can you maybe share a little bit about how your journey led you to be in Nashville as a venture capitalist? 21:00 Well, you know, from the outset, at growth, x, one of our founding principles was that we want to enable founders to remain proximate to their customers, without the requirement to be proximate to their capitalists. We thought proximity to customer was far, far more important. Matt Hunckler 21:21 And for all the reasons you just shared, right, you’re able to get feedback from the customers to figure out which ones are the most profitable and predictable, 21:28 picking up and moving away from your friends and your family. Moving away from a relatively low cost of living, moving away from a relatively more balanced way of living. And picking up and going to the most expensive rat race in America seems to be a poor judgment. When you are starting the brutal, brutal journey of being an entrepreneur, we understand why the Silicon Valley venture capitalists are asking and requiring that founders be proximate. I mean, it is very hard to do this job. Well, this is not about leaning back and writing checks. Not at all, being present for your founders. And oh, by the way, building relationships, like you and I have been able to build a relationship. It’s a relationship, it’s not a transaction, there is no microwavable version of it. What is that VC from, from Sand Hill Road going to do fly into Nashville simply for 3686 spend some of their time meeting with the top entrepreneurs maybe holding holding interest in open office hours in hopes that they, they, they find that that top performing entrepreneur in Nashville, so that they can fund them. You know, it’s about it’s about finding that people and understanding that this is someone who you want to be on the journey with and presenting yourself in a way that allows them to choose you as someone that they want to be on their journey with them. And being able to build a trustful, thoughtful, long term, healthy, sustainable relationship. You can’t do that in any other way. Right? It’s about human contact, and over a period of time. And so I definitely get why that is the case. And so it was a founding principle that we wanted to, you know, to disrupt it and figure out how to do it and be present. And I did it for many years, when I founded the fun with my partners, I was living in Palo Alto, and that was the right place to be to even lead me to the hypotheses that I had, and the relationships that I was able to build that enabled me, Shawn Max, and well to found growth X together in Silicon Valley. But very quickly, it became obvious that for personal professional reasons, I decided I needed to get out in order to do that really well. Clayton Christensen, you know, is is as relevant to innovate in venture as it is anything else. And we believe that Silicon Valley venture suffers from the innovators dilemma, venture capital. And so we wanted to get outside of it. Our core values are very important to us. What are some of those core values? Certainly people first, it’s all about people, gratefulness, transparency. These are the things that are the promise of experience. When you work with growth X. We believe that that promise of experience is our Rand, and we’re fallible human beings. And we regularly fall short on our core values as we measure them from instant to instant. But we’re striving to give a promise of experience and we ask to be held accountable for that promise of experience. And in our estimation, as founders of growth X, who all created success in entrepreneurism for each of ourselves outside of Silicon Valley first, before we moved to and met in Silicon Valley. I guess a lot of the human behaviors outside of the valley felt more congruent. It’s about how you, it’s about how your mama raised you. Yeah. And so that was also a push for Nashville. You know, it was, as I’ve been quoted as saying many times, because it’s true, and I and I believe that it was, it’s real. You know, when I was invited to and started spending time in Nashville, the prevailing energy that presented itself was hopefulness faithfulness and happiness. Now, first and foremost, as a father of two girls, my most important startups. 26:19 You know, hopefulness happiness and faithfulness are pretty important. Absolutely. They also happen to be wonderful nutrients and soil for growing entrepreneurs. And so the first and most prevailing and lasting reason why I moved to Nashville were those things. And then from there, learning about the extraordinary customer base Lord and learning about the extraordinary richness and diversity of entrepreneurism, that predates Silicon Valley, learning about the density of population of entrepreneurs that rival Silicon Valley, even though those entrepreneurs in Nashville will identify themselves as musicians, and songwriters. And publishers, make no mistake, that’s the creative class, those are makers, those are entrepreneurs. And so when all that comes together, in a place that also has the support of a effective legislature, with an incredible governor, who puts in place mechanisms for the state to partner with a private enterprise. In economic development, primarily being launched Tennessee, you’re like, Okay, wow, they’re being purposeful and thoughtful about this. And oh, by the way, net, Tennessee is also a very business friendly place. It is an exciting place to live. You you don’t if you need to find talent outside of Tennessee and move them into Nashville, and Chattanooga, Memphis is not a hardship poster. These are incredible places that have a lot to add to people who have decided to live their life. 360 degrees Matt Hunckler 28:07 are very unique, and as well, very unique. And the tech census report that we published there really uncovered a lot of uniqueness. And each of those markets even differentiated from themselves, but certainly setting themselves apart from the rest of the country. Yes, as well. And you brought to that live event, when we launched the report, an entrepreneur that is actually in your portfolio now and an entrepreneur that you on many occasions, told me about. And I just kept saying, Well, I can’t wait to meet him can’t wait to meet him. And then you finally brought him to an event and I had a chance to connect with them. And I was so impressed by the vision and the product that he’s built. And I think you first told me about it maybe at 3686 that conference down in Tennessee. And then this now coming full circle. You’ve brought this entrepreneur to Indianapolis and you have him here with us today. Would you mind introducing our next guest here on the show to join us? 28:59 We my pleasure to do that I’m grateful to be able to ensure that is enabling entrepreneurs in nascent startup ecosystems, most especially non technical founders and nascent startup ecosystems, joining the community of people like powderkeg like drive capital, like endeavor, like other community builders that are bringing talent, capital and know how into communities around America to create that type of prosperity. And fuel economies from natural resources into innovation. Boss framework is doing that with a product that solves that MVP problem. Matt Hunckler 29:54 That’s awesome. Well shank, thanks so much for being here today and for braving the An electric vehicle journey from Nashville to Indianapolis, 30:03 practical experience of dealing dealing with a runway. Runway. Matt Hunckler 30:10 Well, I’m so excited to talk to you about the journey of boss framework. Can you maybe take me back to the genesis of this idea? How did you first see that this was a problem customers were having, and that you wanted to solve it? 30:23 Absolutely. So give you a little background here. I’ve been, I’m a mechanical engineer, that moved to software about 20 years back. And over the years have had an opportunity to work across the globe, in many industries at various levels, right from being a junior programmer, all the way up to becoming a CTO. About nine years back, I started my own company, mainly because I felt the corporate structure become at being very restrictive. And I saw problems in software through this career, which I knew I could solve. Matt Hunckler 31:04 But what was that company that he started nine years ago? 31:07 It’s called Five, why? Okay, five why’s solutions, okay? And today, we have offices in the US in Australia and India. And through that experience, we built over 100 projects in various industries, again, various geographies, various technologies, what we found was we doing the same thing over and over again, every time I go to my developers that say I’m working on the User Management System authentication scheduling. So as we were talking to startups, we also found that there, and through this journey, just to mention this, we were uniquely positioning ourselves to becoming a startup expert, working only with startups, the zero to ones and the ones and the twos, right. So when we’re working on that, we discovered that they’re all facing about the same problem. That is they’re spending money and capital, doing the same thing over and over again. So I look at it from both dimensions, startups spending money building the same thing over and over again, engineers spending time and energy building the same thing over and over again. Sure. And you ask anybody, they’ll tell you that 70% of every application is the same. Matt Hunckler 32:21 So Boston is that framework that kind of helps you plug in those modules that everyone has in every software project, whether it’s user authentication, creating profiles, maybe check out systems, please, I’m certainly not technical. But I, you know, I taught myself to code, you know, the basics just to know enough to talk to developers, you know, 10 years ago or so. And I was using Ruby on Rails at the time. Is it similar to like a Ruby on Rails? Or? What is 32:52 it’s very interesting, you mentioned Ruby on Rails, because we call ourselves rails without Ruby. Matt Hunckler 32:57 Okay. I like that. What does that mean? What that means is 33:01 Ruby on Rails requires you to learn Ruby, yes, on rails, and you want to be in that ecosystem, you want to be you have to program in that specific environment. What we have done with Bas is you could program in any environment. Sure, you do not have to use my toolkit alone, okay, you do not learn my programming language. Okay. You can continue using and programming in the language that you love technology stack that you’ll love. But you do not have to do that. 70%. Okay, Matt Hunckler 33:34 that’s awesome. So can you maybe give me an example of a project that’s used bas framework and how they’re able to use that in that particular application. And I’m assuming this is done usually to like, save money or save time, 33:49 a little bit more than that money and time is a byproduct. Okay, saving both of those. The true purpose going back to the MVP proposition that we were discussing, and Andrew was so beautifully talking about, we believe that as much as MVP are required, the way they’re being approached, is incorrect. As a result, MVP is becoming more of a reason why startups fail, because they’re getting all of this feedback. But it is not real feedback. Your first set of customers are becoming really your first set of testers giving you feedback about why email doesn’t go out why they cannot register, why this thumb thumbnail doesn’t get generated properly. That is probably one of the biggest reasons why they are not able to chase after the customer base or the market that can give them the best real feedback to the specific problem that they’re trying to solve. Instead, they get all of this noise. We are attempting to solve that problem. And when I talk again, sorry for this long winded answer here. This is helpful. This 70% is not just features and functionality. That’s a variable. And the 30%, which is your secret sauce is a variable. Yeah. Scientifically speaking, when I have two variables, the outcome is questionable what is causing my outcome? Right? Whichever way. So how about making the 70% constant. So boss is about bringing that huge constant, and bringing certainty and dependability, and scalability with flexibility. It’s not about bringing a set of tools, which is what everyone else is doing, where we’re saying the market will succeed. If you build on boss, if you start with Boss is, start with a constant, bring that huge known into the system and focus strictly on your real product, which is solving that problem. And focus on that real customer instead of chasing after your most tolerant lot. Matt Hunckler 35:57 Yeah. Well, so Andrew, when you first met so shank, what was it about this opportunity that really caught your interest? Because your investors now and boss framework correcting? 36:07 Yeah, we’ve leaned in more heavily with Bas framework than any other company across our 40 plus companies across two different funds. We led the round. It was an extraordinarily large round for the our community, it was a $2 million seed round. Wow. We priced the seed round, so created a series seed preferred stock, a relative unknown in this part of the country. Yep, I took a board seat, the first time I’ve ever done that across any growth X investment, because it’s just not how we usually think we’re going to be able to provide the most value, because to do it, the way I would want to do it means it is inherently unscalable. And so it took me 40 Plus investments to find one that I wanted to do it with, wow, we brought along an LP in our fund who co invested in the round with us. So shank is going through our market acceleration program, our private accelerator for portfolio companies. And we’re building software growth index. Unbox where cost customer that’s awesome, as well. Matt Hunckler 37:27 So So why, what was it about the 37:31 beyond I mean, beyond the the first principles and beyond the relationship, we were able to build with the shank, it was precisely the alignment of our mission, to be be good ecosystem participants to enable founders to build their companies where they are, and to protect their own wealth, and the wealth of their investors so that it is used almost entirely for solving the hardest part of a startup, which is the market need, and not the product build. And so when I started digging in and learned more about what’s the shank is doing and how he’s doing it, and the problem that they’re solving, it was, it was just unavoidable. You know, this point that Shane was making about the MVP process is so true. Anytime you speak to a founder, especially non technical in a nascent market, you’ll get them nodding. We’re doing a series of calls right now developing the market together, speaking with people like powderkeg, and VC funds and Angel networks and other ecosystem builders to try to identify who in their community of founders, we could help. And most of the time, we get interrupted three to five minutes into our conversation because like, we get it like I know exactly what we’re talking about. I’ve been through that I know, founders are like, what can we do? How can we help? How can we get you guys to help? And so it’s, it is a very, very real problem. Again, most especially for non technical founders in nascent markets. There’s no better way to illustrate, you know, exactly what the shake is doing, then, you know, talking with a founder about that process of building their MVP, and when they first begin to engage an outside developer, and what that conversation is about, and how long it takes, and when they actually see some of the results of that work. But even more critically, when you start getting feedback. Now what Yeah, right. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. So make sure as Mike Tyson has taught us. Yep. And that is the MVP process. It ought not be a punch in the face when you begin getting that feedback, Matt Hunckler 40:01 also, and how did you hone in we talked about revenue in this podcast, right? All the different types of revenue and all the different types of customer. It seems to me that this tool could have a lot of different applications from big enterprise with skunkworks projects, to entrepreneurs anywhere, how did you hone in, on these entrepreneurs in nascent markets as the, the 40:27 that’s the customer attributes, market acceleration program, in the market development process, we have we have pioneered, as not that everything that we do at growth x, we are the first to think of it again, we are built on the backs of giants, you know, people like Geoffrey Moore, and Eric Ries, and, and many others. But in our estimation, we are the first to reduce it to a practice and a framework where we have taken founder and startup from art to science. And so following the process of that market development, by creating that functional learning organization, seeking out the truth in a capital efficient, hypothesis driven way, and then delving deeper to see if that truth can be predictable, profitable, scalable, it’s a series of experiments. Yeah. It is a set of hypotheses. We’re not nothing is scalable, and you’re doing nothing that’s intending to scale and the behaviors that you’re undertaking are purposely not scalable, because learning precedes revenue. And so taking those hypotheses based on based on the collective wisdom of the teams that are together, and their experiences, and their intellect, and their intuition and their intelligence in forming the hypotheses, and following a step by step methodical framework, to find product market fit, where the outcome is always the truth. You might not like that outcome. It may mean that what business Matt Hunckler 42:14 in other words, you’re not looking to confirm your confirm your hypotheses you’re looking to either validate or invalidate, that’s exactly how to be open to either. 42:24 And we’re on the journey still sure, we started out with a different hypothesis, we went down a path, learn from the market, we always reserve the right to be less wrong tomorrow than we are today. And we have a growth mindset, what we call a growth X mindset. So we’ve taken what Carol Dweck has pioneered from the growth mindset. And we call it a growth X mindset, which is being a learn at all, and not a No at all. I like it. And so constantly learning and grateful for that learning, and we’re willing to be less wrong. And so we needed to make a change we did. And we took what we learned along the way and formed a new hypothesis. And the market response has been extraordinary, there is a absolute need in the market. And again, not all revenue is created equally back to that traction effort, delta. And so the silly analogy I always use with founders that come to me looking to solve what I refer to as every element on the periodic table. And when I try to convince them is that we’re at the stage they’re at when they’re talking to me. It’s not the Periodic Table of Elements. It’s how do you find one element? By break that element down to its molecular level? And do one molecule that’s where you start? Is that one molecule? For so many different reasons. And so the journey that we’ve been on this function and learning process that we’ve been on, which is the market development process, encapsulated by our market acceleration program, has been just that and you know, less and less such a shame talk about it, because we’re the ones who created it and are running it, but he’s the one who’s, who’s living it. Matt Hunckler 44:08 Yeah. So shank, would you mind sharing maybe one thing that you learned either from Andrew or maybe it was even about your customers while going through this acceleration program? 44:19 Absolutely. And just on that topic, the acceleration program is just awesome. Initially, when Andrew was talking about it, I found it a little hard to picture but everything else Andrew was bringing to the table and how beautifully he was relaying it. I said, You know what Android trust you and I went with it. In retrospect, that’s the best decision that we made for our company, because we started with a hypothesis. Now, knowing this, in theory is very different from being able to apply it in practice. What the acceleration program has helped us do is being able to apply that. So we started conducting a series of experiments very, very true. sprint right from the get go on what we’re trying to do and who we’re trying to go after? What experiment? And what’s the outcome? And very quickly pivot. Is this working? Is this not working? Why is this not working? What could work? Matt Hunckler 45:12 And what constitutes a pivot? In your particular product? 45:17 In our particular product? It’s really how resistant is this market? Or how much benefit? Is it getting it getting once they start accepting? Sure. And Matt Hunckler 45:28 so not only do they need to get the benefit, but they need to be open to receiving that benefit? Exactly. Moving quickly enough to grow as a customer, 45:36 Mr. Right now as opposed to his right, I like that. Right. So we we’ve been able to learn that. So we went after it. Now, to your point from earlier, we believe there’s a very wide application to boss. But today, what’s getting the most benefit from what we’re trying to do, and we’re able to repeatedly and predictably show that benefit is with startups in nascent markets, with specially non tech founders, as well as tech founders, but those that want to go from zero to one or one to two. And we are questioning the MVP model, and saying what you need really is a first viable product. So even this messaging came from the growth X MSP program, which is how do we message this right? It’s one thing to say I have a product, but how do I say this? Is my product in a manner that truly becomes understandable to the people that are receiving it? Matt Hunckler 46:35 Yeah. And if if there are listeners on this podcast, I’m sure there are that are looking to solve this particular pain point? How would they go and check out or try out boss framework? Is there something that they can just go and plug into today, should they get in touch with you and tell you a little bit about their project, what’s a good place to start 46:55 again, at the stage we’re at the best way is to get in touch with us, they can go to our website, boss and get in touch with us, okay, because at this stage, we are helping them use our product and get the most out of it. So it’s not just a product that we’re throwing at it at them. It’s a solution, Matt Hunckler 47:16 just a good time to start using it to actually get the hands on assistance of the founder and the founding team. So it’s 47:23 awesome. It’s a framework. It’s the insights that my team brings in. And it’s that relationship, we are trying to build with them. Right from taking the idea to market and then finding the product market fit. And helping them iterate through those build, measure, learn feedback cycles, to find their product market fit. 47:45 Yeah, I was gonna add, you know, back to your question on that, too. One of the things that we found highly attractive as venture capitalists to what So Shane was doing was, to your question, and his answer before about is that does that mean it’s cheaper and quicker? And his answer was yes. But it’s the messaging is not about cheaper and quicker. That’s a byproduct. What’s extraordinary about this technology is it enables not only the founders to get MVP in weeks, and not months. And not just to save an extraordinary amount of money over the life of their product. But it enables, for the first time, a subscription as a service model for building MVPs, where the non technical founder gets their MVP, built in a way that is extraordinarily flexible and extensible. So that they’re in the way it’s being built. They’re getting only the feedback that they care most about, which is the market needs and not the product feature function mishaps. They’re able to iterate without needing to go back to a developer and spend an extraordinary amount of time to recode a product because of how it was built in the first place where the the MVP feedback often gets too. But the upfront costs are near zero, relative to building a product in the marketplace today. There’s an even with the cost of technology and the complexity of technology being drastically reduced. For the companies that we’re serving, that are looking to build large, scalable business on the backs of their MVPs. They’re going to be spending a minimum of $100,000 to get a developer what they need, and this is a world where you do really get what you pay for. The difference between being a founder and Indianapolis and trying to figure out where am I going to get $150,000 right now just to get an MVP into the marketplace that is only going to test features, and I can’t really iterate on any way. And now I need more money to do that, I don’t have it. And there isn’t the same availability of capital, there isn’t the same availability of resources. And oh, by the way, every VC is telling me that I need to be post product post revenue before they’ll fund the anyway, to be able to just subscribe and have a relatively small monthly, with no big upfront so that I can actually go to market with a scalable MVP, and get customer feedback about whether they have the problem I want. So when I go to my VC to raise money, I can have that validated hypothesis and do so without raising any money. That’s extraordinary. Matt Hunckler 50:54 I love it. And I can tell you been in the trenches, in this accelerator working on working with the customers talk to them. Humans a shank have a really interesting product here. And I’m excited to introduce you to some folks tonight. Andrew, I appreciate you speaking at our event that we’re hosting downtown, focused on nonprofit technology I’m looking forward to we’ve got some really great companies that are presenting and some awesome companies in attendance, including boss framework, which we’re really excited about. My ending question for each of you is what is your greatest hope for entrepreneurs in these nascent markets in middle America? If you could wave a magic wand and do one thing for entrepreneurs or even for yourself? Being an entrepreneur and in a quote unquote, nascent market? What would you like to see change in the next five years in the way that this market operates? 51:46 I think a lot of people in the nascent markets that I speak with do not are not able to take their idea to market because there’s a barrier to entry, which is money. They just don’t have the money. And I’ve seen many entrepreneurs just wait for months and years, I in fact, know at least three of them that have been in conversation with for a year that have not been able to take their idea to market. So that’s that’s a problem. I think that needs to be solved, there needs to be a better forum of some sort, which helps them get past that initial hump, if you will, Matt Hunckler 52:26 more capital, or capital inflection, or the things that would attract more capital, which might be more product market fit, more validation, and more cycles in this sort of lean startup. Framework. 52:41 Yes. And to that, Boss, what we’re trying to do is help them in our own manner, reduce, I’ve actually just advised somebody that came to me with how much capital to raise, he had $250,000 on his rig on his need table for technology build out and I said you need but $100,000 What you’re trying to build. Wow. And he was ecstatic. That’s awesome. He was very excited. So we’re trying to do what we can, but I think there is also a bigger role that the ecosystem can play in that front. Okay, Matt Hunckler 53:17 Andrew, how about you? What’s, what’s your biggest hope for the next 510 years? Or you can even go futuristic 100 years out? What What would you like to see happen in the markets like Nashville, like Indianapolis, like Denver, here in in middle America? 53:31 I mean, I would like to see the face of entrepreneurs from change. And I’d like to see the face of venture capital change, both from the general partner and the limited partner perspective, what does that mean to you? What it means to me is, you know, more people being given the opportunity to pursue economic security for themselves and their families in a way that’s only currently reserved for a very few people in this world. And part of that means capital town to know how in the ecosystems around the world very much as powered powderkeg is powering an endeavor is powering and and others are powering. But it’s and it means having the tools and the frameworks to be able to solve those market needs. In the same way as those tools new frameworks have been built over time to solve those product needs. But you know, it’s it’s a complicated question, not the question of how do we how do we open up the chain? How do we change the face of entrepreneurism is such a it’s a complicated question and with a lot of complicated questions. It can be frustrating to a nun seed or to reduce Two tangible practices, the things that we all need to be doing to be having the conversation. What I would say is my hope in the short term is that, that we continue to have a conversation that seems to be that seems to have taken a more lasting hold than perhaps it previously had. And that, that all of the participants, you know, be willing to lean in, and to have that conversation with an open mind to share in the power of hopefulness. Because of the the dramatic and long lasting impact that has on on everybody in the community. And we are a very firm believer that entrepreneurism can do that. And like it or not, the fourth industrial revolution is underway, the innovation economy is already more quickly, more broadly, and more deeply impacting the human race than any of the previous three industrial revolutions that have taken place. And my hope is that we all approach it with a mindset of abundance. So when those nouns present themselves, we perceive them as opportunities, and not challenges. And you know, that, you know, we’re able to, we’re able to harvest that for more people. That’s my Matt Hunckler 56:36 hope. I love that. I hope that too. I hope both of those things happen. And I think what you’re both working on together on boss framework, and what you’re working on growth X are going to be a big piece of that. So I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge here today with our listeners. I’m looking forward to sharing this far and wide, and hopefully having you back on the show here again soon. Well, we’re grateful for the opportunity, Matt, thank you. 57:03 Thank you so much, Matt. This is wonderful. Matt Hunckler 57:05 Thanks. Let’s go have some fun in Indianapolis. That’s it for today’s show. Thank you so much for listening. I also want to give a huge thanks to Andrew Goldman of growth X and Shashank per dollar of boss framework for links to their social profiles and the other people, companies and resources mentioned in this episode, head on over to where we’ve got all that linked up for you. And to be among the first to hear the stories about entrepreneurs, investors, and other tech leaders outside of Silicon Valley. Make sure you subscribe to us on forward slash iTunes. Catch you next time on powderkeg igniting startups