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The Founder Coach Podcast with Dave Bailey

Bi-weekly interviews with Europe's latest Series A CEOs who are willing to tell the unvarnished truth about growing a business.

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#020 Why Jewellery Needs a New Model | Ilana Lever, CEO of Motley

Why have traditional marketplace models failed in the jewellery sector? My guest, Ilana Lever, is the CEO of Motley—a company that enables jewellery designers to bring their designs to market at scale.

In this episode, Ilana walks us through Motley’s business model, she explains what stopped her letting go of the details sooner, and we discuss challenges and learnings from fundraising four times.

#019 Why CEOs Often Neglect Their Wellbeing | James Routledge, CEO of Sanctus (Series Seed)

Why do CEOs so often neglect their wellbeing? My guest, James Routledge, is the founder of Sanctus—a company that offers coaching services to businesses to support employee mental health.

In this episode, James walks us through his decision to step back from the CEO role, he explains why he decided not to hire a COO, and we discuss how ego can lead us to unhappiness.

#018 Why an Inspiring Mission is Everything | Simon Mellin, CEO of The Modern Milkman (Series A)

How much plastic do you consume? Meet Simon Mellin, CEO of The Modern Milkman a company that delivers plastic-free milk and groceries to your door.

In this episode, Simon talks about how a milk cart became venture-backed, we discuss his journey to Series B, and the importance of hiring when building a low-ego culture.

#017 Why You Need To Train Your Workforce | Rajeeb Dey, CEO of Learnerbly (Series A)

Why do you need to train your workforce? Meet Rajeeb Dey, CEO of Learnerbly—a company that helps businesses train their employees.

In this episode, Rajeeb shares how he dealt with a life-threatening back issue as CEO, we discuss the hard decisions that come with internalisation and talk about how the training space is changing.

#016 How to Identify High Performance | Alex Young, CEO of Virti (Series A)

How do you identify high performers in your recruiting? Meet Alex Young, CEO of Virti—a company that creates immersive training experiences using VR that replicate the stress and emotion of clinical practice and beyond.

In this episode, Alex talks us through his Series A fundraise, we discuss the surprising applications of VR and immersive training, and he shares some of his recruiting tactics.

 

#015 How to Stay Resilient in a Scale-Up | Joe Cripps, CEO of Trail (Series A)

How have you dealt with the ups and downs of Covid-19? Meet Joe Cripps, CEO of Trail, a company that helps multi-site operators in hospitality and leisure to manage their daily tasks.

In this episode, Joe shares his experience of the hospitality crisis, he shares learnings from running a remote-first company, and we talk about the mental health challenges many of us have faced during the pandemic.

 

#014 Why and How to Grow Inorganically | Aron Gelbard, CEO of Bloom & Wild (Series D)‬

Why and how do you grow a company through acquisitions? Meet Aron Gelbard, CEO of Bloom & Wild—a company which sends you flowers through your letterbox.

In this episode, Aron talks about applying AI to the flowers industry, raising from a US VC without a US presence, and the opportunities and challenges of growing through acquisitions. Aron also shares how he came to lead the Thoughtful Marketing trend.

#013 What It Takes To Build a Diverse Company | Maya Pindeus, CEO of Humanising Autonomy (Seed)

What does it take to build a truly diverse company from Day One? Today's guest is Maya Pindeus, CEO of Humanising Autonomy which is a company that uses AI and computer vision to predict human behaviour.

In this episode, Maya walks us through how she built a thought leadership position as an AI startup, how she prioritised diversity from the start, and the challenges of a listening culture. She also shares an interesting approach to brainstorming at scale.

#012 How to Manage Your Own Standards | Gren Paull, CEO of Lilli (Series A)

How do you set realistic standards for your team? Meet Gren Paull, CEO of Lilli—a company that helps vulnerable people live independently and safely, using smart in-home sensors.

In this episode, Gren shares how he took over as CEO, the differences between the COO and CEO role, and his approach to setting standards for the team. We also discuss the value of a Head of People, even during the early stages.

#011 How The Role of CEO Changes You | Charles Wells, CEO of HelloSelf (Series A)

How does the role of CEO change you? Meet Charles Wells, CEO of HelloSelf—a company with a mission to help everyone practically work on self-improvement.

In this episode, Charles shares his company's amazing origin story, we discuss the transition from manager to leader, and the challenge of giving up areas of the business. We also discuss shadow cultures and how to avoid letting the external mission corrode the internal one.

Looking to level up as a CEO?

#010 Special Edition: Why Vulnerability is a CEO Super-Power

In this special edition to mark the 10th episode of the Founder Coach Podcast, I unpack the most powerful moments on the show this far—moments that demonstrate and celebrate the power of vulnerable leadership.

As well as sharing practical takeaways on topics like building a culture of resilience and challenge, managing stress, and stepping out of the details, I'll leave with you with some powerful questions that help you integrate these ideas in your role as a leader.

#009 Why Being a Peacetime CEO Isn't Easy | Will Read, CEO of Sideways 6 (Scale-up‪)‬

How easy is it to transition from 'wartime' to 'peacetime' as a CEO? Meet Will Read, CEO of Sideways 6—a company that helps companies capture big ideas from their employees.

In this episode, Will shares his capital-efficient approach to growth, we discuss the anxiety that comes with the CEO role, and explain why it's important to celebrate wins with your team.

We also unpack the transition from 'wartime' to 'peacetime' CEO—and why it's not as easy as you may think.

#008 How Do You Encourage New Behaviours | Luke Fisher, CEO of Mo (Series A‪)‬

How do you encourage new behaviours? Meet Luke Fisher, CEO of Mo, SaaS software that allows teams and companies to share their wins and encourage new behaviours.

In this episode, Luke Fisher explains how he 'dog-foods' his own product to celebrate wins in his team, how he adapted his fundraising approach during COVID, and how the North Star Metric framework links to OKRs.

We also talk about the often conflicting needs of end-users and the economic buyer.

#007 Why Every Founder Needs a Chief of Staff | Rebecca Kelly, CEO of VenueScanner (Series Seed‪)‬‬

What's it like to see revenues drop 95%? Meet Rebecca Kelly, CEO of VenueScanner—a marketplace that connects event organisers with their ideal venue.

In this episode, Rebecca shares her insights on marketplace business models, tells the story of how Covid dramatically impacted her business, and how she reinvented an events marketplace to stay relevant—even when there are no events happening.

She also explains how to think about the Chief of Staff role—a must-listen for every CEO interested in recruiting one.

#006 What It Means to Put People First | Ben Stephenson, CEO of Impala (Series B‪)‬‬

What does it mean to put 'People First' in a fast-growing company? Meet Ben Stephenson, CEO of Impala—a company building a suite of travel APIs that make building travel tech a lot easier.

In this episode, Ben Stephenson explains how he went from Seed to Series B in six months, how the pandemic affected their travel-focused business, and why hiring a head of people made a huge difference in building a remote-first culture. We also discuss the importance of inviting your leaders to the conversation.

Need to clarify your strategy?

#005 How to Encourage Constructive Dissent | Anastasia Leng, CEO of CreativeX (Series A‪)‬

How do you get your team to speak up to the CEO? Meet Anastasia Leng, CEO of CreativeX—a Series A SaaS company that helps B2C brands understand the performance of image and video content.

In this episode, Anastasia explains how she got term sheets for a company with no name, unpacks the founder-investor partnership, and explains why high-standards are a perk.

We also discuss 'Devil's Avocado' (a term borrowed from Sarah Wood), and other ways to encourage constructive dissent.

#004 What It Means To Leave Your Comfort Zone | Jacob Waern, CEO of EduMe (Series A‪)‬

What does it mean to leave your comfort zone as a CEO? Meet Jacob Waern, CEO of EduMe (Series A), a mobile-based training tool that gives desk-less workforces the knowledge they need to succeed.

In this episode, Jacob talks about his experience reducing his team by 90%, explains how he raised while sick with suspected Coronavirus, and we discuss what it takes to build a strong leadership team.

We also look at the tension between empowering processes and empowering people.

#003 What It Means to Speak VC | Paul Ford, CEO of Acin (Series A‪)‬

How many languages do founders need to learn? Meet Paul Ford, CEO of Acin, a SaaS tool that helps banks manage their operational risk.

In this episode, Paul and I discuss why raising money is like learning a new language, Paul shares how the army helped him become more resilient, and we talk about what it was like to step down as CEO of his previous company. We also explore how to find topics that resonate with end users.

#002 What It's Like to Raise 7 Rounds in 7 Years | Jack Tang CEO of Urban (Series B‪)

What’s it like to raise 7 funding rounds in 7 years? We’re speaking with Jack Tang from Urban, a website that allows you to book wellness treatments at your home or work.

In this episode, Jack and I talk about investors that ‘simply don’t get it’, Jack shares the wellness rituals that help him manage extreme stress, and we discuss what it was really like to make cuts at the start of the global pandemic. We also talk about ways you can build trust in a growing team.

#001 What It’s Like to Go From 50 to 100 Employees | Chris Edson, CEO Second Nature (Series A‪)‬

What's it like to go from 50 to 100 employees? Meet Chris Edson, CEO of Second Nature, an online weight loss plan that helps people make healthy lifestyle changes.

In this episode, Chris explains why reaching 100 employees feels like 'going through startup puberty', what made his $10M Series A easier than his seed round, and how brutal honesty won over an experienced US investor. We also talk frankly about why it's difficult for founders that love building to step out of daily operations.

5-Star Podcast Reviews

Rory Stirling from Connect Ventures

Rory Stirling

Partner at Connect Ventures

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love listening to real founder stories from European founders and startups. Dave Bailey is exceptional.

Charles from Stairway

Charles Williamson

CEO Stairway

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Unlike most podcasts out there, The Founder Coach Podcast focuses on the challenges faced by founders which are rarely spoken about. Would highly recommend!

Amanda from MakeUsCare

Amanda Baker

CEO MakeUsCare

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This podcast goes deep into the hearts of startup CEOs and pulls out the truth. I fill up a page of notes with every episode. Seriously, these conversations are THAT GOOD.

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