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Here’s how to startup. Even when the world goes topsy-turvy.

From one home office to another, Zendesk leaders chat with founders, CEOs, and makers on their startup journey. There’s rule-flipping, new dogma, and recycling failure into growth.

Plus, why customer experience is at the heart of success, as told by people who know unpredictability inside out. (That seems pretty helpful right now.)

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Calling curious minds

Listen in for advice on making success out of customer-focused thinking and a good spattering of risk.


31. Live episode: Creating the future of skin health

In our first episode recorded on Clubhouse, we invited the Co-Founders of OneSkin onto the show. OneSkin develops products to improve “skinspan”, and was founded by Brazilian entrepreneurs, Alessandra Zonari and Carolina Oliveira. Join their conversation with Zendesk’s Pedro Muller to learn:
• The unique challenges of growing a startup in a new country
• Creating a business based on a love of science
• How to identify a specific customer profile

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

30. Product School’s Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia on unifying product with customer experience

Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia is the CEO and Founder of Product School, the global leader in product management training. Since 2014, the community has grown to more than one million people. In this episode, Carlos shares his experiences from the digital product world, in a conversation with Shawna Wolverton, Executive Vice President of Product at Zendesk. Learn about:
• The bootstrap approach to building a community-centric business
• The role of a product manager in early stage startups
• How to best unify the customer experience from product to service

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

29. Kaizo’s Christoph Auer-Welsbach on hacking Zendesk Marketplace

Christoph is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of performance management platform, Kaizo. He is an entrepreneur and investor with a passion for ecological innovation. Prior to it he was a Partner at IBM Ventures. In this episode, Christoph is in conversation with Zendesk’s Pedro Muller. Find out:
• Kaizo’s journey in building tools for support heroes
• Best practices for growing in the Zendesk Marketplace—the one-stop shop for apps and integrations
• How to empower support agents to achieve goals

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

28. Atman’s Pedro Sorren on inevitable founders

Pedro Sorren is the founder of Atman, an early-stage venture capital firm. The firm has seeded category-defining companies, like Coinbase, Instacart, GitLab, and Webflow. In this episode, Pedro shares a virtual espresso with Zendesk’s Pedro Muller. Listen to the pair chat about:
• Why the venture capital industry needs innovation
• Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley versus Latin America
• The mighty force of “inevitable” founders who don’t give up

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

27. Finimize’s Max Rofagha on becoming your own financial advisor

Finimize is working on making finance a breeze. The London-based startup gives people information and tools that empower them to make smarter decisions about finance. In this episode, Founder and CEO, Max Rofagha, is in conversation with Zendesk’s Tara McCann. Learn about:
• Putting in the grind to reach critical mass
• The power of driving community and brand equity
• How to align your business model with your consumers

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

25. bud.com’s Justin Hall on making it in a fresh industry

In 2019, legal cannabis business sales hit an all-time high of $12 billion. In this episode, get insights on being the first in a fresh industry. Hear Justin Hall, Founder and CTO of Bud.com, in conversation with Zendesk’s Pedro Muller, as he clears the smoke on building a cannabis startup. Find out:
• The blazing journey of bud.com, starting with a domain purchase in 1994
• How to enable customer support teams to educate users
• Growing a business in a highly legislated industry

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

24. Unstack’s Grant Deken on helping businesses be digital-first

Unstack is a no-code marketing platform for startups. It aims to replace systems like WordPress with all the tools that teams need to win in the digital economy. Learn about Unstack’s journey direct from Founder and CEO, Grant Deken, as he chats with Zendesk’s Tara McCann on:
• Identifying the problem and building the ultimate solution
• The power of building community to improve loyalty
• Advice on creating a strong feedback loop with early customers

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

23. Defy’s Madison McIlwain on breaking into venture capital

Defy is an early-stage focused venture fund based in Silicon Valley. In this episode, Madison McIlwain, a Partner at Defy, catches up with Pedro Muller, GM of Startups at Zendesk. The pair discuss Madison’s journey from growing up chatting entrepreneurship at family meals, to transitioning out of the corporate world. Learn about:
• The role of Venture Capital on the startup ecosystem
• How innovative investors are making it easy for founders to grow their business
• Advice for getting backed by a venture capital firm

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

22. Vindi’s Rodrigo Dantas on finding success in emerging markets

Vindi is a leader in payment solutions in Brazil. The startup was one of the first SaaS businesses in Brazil, and was recently acquired when it hit $33 million in valuation. Co-Founder and CEO, Rodrigo Dantas, is in conversation with Maira Gracini, Senior Director of Marketing LATAM at Zendesk. You’ll get insights on:
• Challenges unique to growing a startup in Latin America
• How to hire and train talent to build a world-class team
• Getting an edge on Silicon Valley and competing with big names, like Stripe and Paypal

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

21. Mary Louise Cosmetics’ Akilah Releford on following good ideas

Mary Louise Cosmetics is a natural and organic skincare brand. Founded in 2017, CEO, Akilah Releford, was inspired by many of the homemade beauty remedies used by her grandmothers. So, she started the company in her university dorm room. In this episode, hear Akilah in conversation with Marissa Tree, Zendesk’s Senior Director of Public Relations. Learn:
• Why a good business idea is always worth following through on
• The power of frugal bootstrap founders to investors and VCs
• How to avoid comparing yourself to other founders

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

20. Dispatch Goods’ Lindsey Hoell on building sustainable solutions

Dispatch Goods is a zero-waste alternative for restaurant delivery. The startup provides reusable to-go containers for restaurants, so customers always have a sustainable option. Join CEO, Lindsey Hoell, in conversation with Zendesk’s Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Todd Lineart. Get insights on:
• Taking action to support business to be more sustainable
• Making it simple for people to choose eco-friendly restaurants
• Unique challenges as a female founder
• The value of customer feedback to shape the vision of the business

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

19. Live episode: How to find your product market fit

Everyone knows the value of understanding your product market fit. But getting there is never straightforward. For this live episode, we’re delighted to share a recording of a Zendesk webinar, in partnership with Pendo. Listen for insights and practical advice from two product experts: Mike Gozzo, VP of Product at Zendesk, and Eric Boduch, Co-founder at Pendo. You’ll learn:
• How to define product market fit is and measure it effectively
• The right time to prove your fit—should you ever stop?
• How to get feedback to guide your efforts, and metrics to prove your fit to investors
• Why product market fit must be a company-wide initiative

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

18. Wavy’s Victor Lebeau on helping beauty services scale

Wavy aims to bring simplicity to hair and beauty salons. It’s a simplified cash register app and booking app solution that gets to the heart of what counts: saving time. Join Victor Lebeau, CPO & Co-Founder in conversation with Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, Zendesk’s VP of Marketing for EMEA on:
• Why agility is vital in order to respond to shifts in customer sentiment
• All the ways Wavy prioritizes customer relationships
• Supporting remote teams during tough times

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

17. LeaseQuery’s George Azih on making accounting easy

LeaseQuery is a cloud-based lease accounting software. Its CEO and Founder, George Azih, took the idea from a one-person startup to a thriving company with 180 employees—in less than six years. The entrepreneur talks with Zendesk for Startups whiz, Brad Bowery, on:
• The rollercoaster journey towards record-breaking growth
• Getting to the heart of understanding your customers
• How a 3-year subscription model proved to be a recipe for success

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

16. Freshly’s Michael Wystrach on the future of food

Freshly is a meal delivery service that not only provides nutritious meals, but cares about reducing the food waste caused by the grocery supply chain. In this episode, CEO and Co-Founder, Michael Wystrach, chats with Zendesk’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Titterton, on Freshly’s unique journey hacking the food industry. Together, they dish insights on:
• The power of identifying your core customer
• How to scale a food business
• Freshly’s approach to reducing environmental footprints

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

15. TravelNest’s Rebecca Moore on strong leadership in times of flux

TravelNest is on a mission to reinvent the way hosts market their rental properties. The Edinburgh-based startup solves the problem of low occupancy by improving visibility and boosting bookings. From one Chief Operating Officer to another, TravelNest’s Rebecca Moore and Zendesk’s Peter Lorant get together (virtually) to chat:
• The fast-growth journey of a company that bridges tech and travel
• How COVID-19 is impacting the travel industry
• Robust and inspirational leadership amid uncertainty

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

14. Ameelio’s Uzoma Orchingwa on changing the future of prison communications

In 2020, a couple of bright and compassionate Yale students decided to do something about the captive $1.2B prisons telecommunications industry. They founded technology nonprofit, Ameelio, to provide free communication tools for incarcerated people to connect with their families and loved ones. Learn from Co-Founder, Uzoma Orchingwa, on:
• How Ameelio is decoupling incarceration and profit
• Overcoming technical hurdles of providing free communications
• The value of human connection

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

13. Raheem’s Brandon D. Anderson on using AI to end police violence

In the United States, 93% of people who experienced police brutality, but did not report it. The independent service, Raheem, is working to change that. Raheem builds tools for communities to report and track police, and leverages open complaint data to find ways to respond to conflict with care. In this episode, learn important insights from Founder, Brandon D. Anderson, on:
• Ending policy terror against Black people in the United States
• Building a team of incredible organizers, policy experts, and data science
• Using tools like AI to create better customer experience

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

12. Novo’s Michael Rangel on building a customer-centric Fintech

Michael Rangel, Founder and CEO of Novo, believes all founders are a little outrageous. But that didn't stop him from creating Novo, a powerfully simple banking platform built for the modern entrepreneur. Since its founding, Novo has experienced fast growth and continues to do so, even during a pandemic. It’s a big credit to their laser focus on customer experience. Learn about:
• The process behind Michel founding Novo
• Why Novo chose to become a B2B vs. B2C banking platform
• The challenges of building a Fintech that puts customers at the heart of business

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

11. Code for America’s Amanda Renteria on bringing startup values to government

Code for America believes the two biggest levers for improving people’s lives at scale are technology and government. Since 2011, the non-profit organization has been helping state and local governments serve communities better to ensure that technology is simple, fast, and effective. In this episode, CEO, Amanda Renteria, shares how their team of techies and social justice activists do just that. Listen to learn:
• How to solve problems with human-centric systems and processes
• What's needed to build a diverse and equitable organization
• The unique value of applying startup principles to government

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

10. (Live episode) Software taking over the world

In 2020, Forbes Cloud 100 list is at its most impressive, with a record 87 companies valued at $1 billion or more. In this episode, we sit down (virtually) for a candid chat with two Cloud 100 leaders. Hear Archana Agrawal, Chief Marketing Officer at Airtable, and JD Peterson, Chief Growth Officer at Culture Amp in conversation with Zendesk CFO, Elena Gomez. Get lessons on:
• The unexpected acceleration of the cloud and SaaS in 2020
• Challenges of building a high growth cloud company
• How investment in customer experience plays an important role in achieving growth

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

9. Lessonly’s Max Yoder on doing better work

Lessonly is powerfully simple software that helps teams learn. Co-Founder and CEO Max Yoder chats with Zendesk’s Tiffany Apczynski on all things empathy. They explore how education can be used to build the new generation of leaders that the world needs. Tune in to hear the pair talk:
• Tying ROI and behavioral change to software
• How to boost confidence and competence with communication
• Living whatever you’re asking your team to do
• Letting go of perfectionism and tapping into play

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

8. Mindler’s Magnus Pettersson on scaling a fast-growth startup

Mindler believes that everyone should have access to mental health services. In this episode, Mindler COO, Magnus Pettersson sits down with Zendesk’s Warren Levitan at a time when distress is on the rise. They chat about the importance of the first interaction with customers, and defining best in class CX in the world of startups and mental health. Listen to learn:
• The journey towards making mental health accessible remotely
• Valuable lessons on scaling a growing startup
• The role of empathy in strengthening customer trust

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

7. CodeSignal’s Sophia Baik on hiring with less bias

CodeSignal is the first company to build an objective skills-based platform for recruiters and employers. In this episode, Co-Founder, Sophia Baik, chats with Ryan Nichols of Zendesk, about avoiding biases, and pivoting business strategy based on customer feedback. Listen in to learn:
• How to hire an effective remote team
• Why bias in the hiring process can damage startup culture
• The value of listening to customer feedback

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

6. Zenni Optical’s Bai Gan on how customers influence product

Zenni Optical’s Chief Product Officer, Bai Gan, sits down with Kristen Durham of Zendesk—from their remote home offices in California. The pair chat about Zenni Optical’s growth journey, from the days of building a bootstrap startup to navigating the tides of 2020. In this episode, find out:
• How to listen to your customers in order to predict trends
• The importance of investing in a direct to consumer strategy
• Lessons on building a business during the dot com crisis

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

5. Lemlist’s Guillaume Moubeche on CX as everyone’s job

Lemlist is an email outreach platform helping sales teams, agencies, and B2B businesses stand out in a crowded inbox. Speaking across the pond, France-based CEO and Co-Founder, Guillaume Moubeche, is in conversation with Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, Zendesk’s VP of Marketing, EMEA in London. Together, they chat:
• Prospecting techniques, and the “right time” to reach out—even during a pandemic
• The undervalued power of empathy in sales
• Aligning sales and support strategies

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

4. Glofox’s Anthony Kelly on the rise of the Chief Customer Officer

Anthony Kelly is the Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of Glofox, an intuitive gym management software solution, which enables entrepreneurs to grow their own fitness business. From his home office in Dublin, Anthony chats with Zendesk’s Chief Marketing Officer (and fitness lover), Jeff Titterton. They discuss delivering experiences in a shifting world, including:
• Anthony’s tried-and-tested motto: “When the customer wins, we all win”
• Why the virtual fitness format is here to stay
• How Glofox is evolving their customer base from boutique to enterprise gyms

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

3. Tymeshift’s Elisa Reggiardo on the value of support leaders

Tymeshift’s Chief Brand Officer, Elisa Reggiardo, sits down with Zendesk’s Senior Director of Content and Event Marketing, Sarah Reed. While continents apart, the pair catch up on:
• Why support gets deprioritized by founders, and the power of support leaders driving efficient and engaged teams
• The unique startup challenge: balancing team culture with growth and change
• Making the most of workforce management solutions to build teams of all sizes

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

2. Startup Grind’s Derek Andersen on virtual C2C strategy

Derek Andersen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Grind, a global community for educating and connecting entrepreneurs. He chats with Marcio Arnecke, Zendesk’s VP of Regional Marketing AMER, on the value of investing in community, especially in a post-COVID world.
• Building community for altruistic good and pipeline generation
• Learning to thrive in our new normal, through the power of end-to end virtual communities
• Startup Grind’s successful pivot online, and “no limits” when it comes to digital messaging

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

1. Aura’s James Gutierrez on empathy as secret sauce

Aura Founder and CEO, James Gutierrez, sits down with Zendesk CFO, Elena Gomez, to share Aura’s mission to provide affordable, credit-building loans to working families in America. While pretending to sip cortados in a coffee shop, they chat:
• James’s personal journey building Aura, and his motivation to open doors for low-income families
• Adapting to COVID-19 by arming customers with “moral collateral”, making customer experiences more digital, and offering “pay what you can” options
• Leading with compassion, and how empathy drives Aura’s startup culture—and success

Listen to this episode via Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

Look who’s talkin’

Brandon D. Anderson
Founder & CEO
Michael Rangel
Founder & CEO
Amanda Renteria
Code for America
James Gutierrez
CEO and Co-Founder
Derek Andersen
CEO and Co-Founder
Bevy and Startup Grind
Elisa Reggiardo
Chief Brand Officer
Guillaume Moubeche
CEO and Co-Founder
Bai Gan
Chief Product Officer
Zenni Optical
Magnus Pettersson
Chief Operating Officer
Sophia Baik
Anthony Kelly
Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer
Max Yoder
CEO & Co-Founder
Archana Agrawal
Chief Marketing Officer
JD Peterson
Chief Growth Officer
Culture Amp

We’ve got a thing for startups

Sit Down Startup is made by us, Zendesk. We were once a scrappy startup (and we’ve got the kitchen bench we were born on to prove it). Now, we help all kinds of startups, baby to big, build the best customer experiences. Support, sales, or something in between, let us lend a hand in providing a solution that’s mightiest for you.

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