Welcome back to The Room Podcast. We kick off Season 7 with Spencer Rascoff, co-founder and previous CEO of Zillow. Spencer walks us through how he and the team came up with the idea for Zillow and the unforgettable “Zestimate” feature. Prior to Zillow, Spencer had been the founder of Hotwire, which sold to Expedia for $685 million. Currently, Spencer is an active angel investor in more than 100 companies and is incubating several more through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny. He serves as executive chair of dot.LA, a news site covering the Los Angeles tech scene and he is co-founder and board chair of Pacaso, the company pioneering a new way to own a second home.
In our conversation today, we explore insights and themes such as the art of a killer feature, like the Zestimate, managing team morale and execution amidst a macroeconomic downturn, and why the future of real estate is fractional.
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5:05 - Where did Spencer grow up and how did that change his view of the world?
6:33 - Did Spencer always want to be a founder?
7:38 - What was the public opinion of the internet when Spencer was at Harvard?
11:23 - What did Spencer learn about being an entrepreneur from his experience at Harvard?
13:23 - What was the aha moment that sparked the launch of Zillow?
15:51 - How did Spencer and the team hone in on the specific product feature for Zillow?
19:04 - Did Big Data play any role in the start of Zillow? What was the data stack at the time?
21:15 - Who was the first external investor to say yes to investing in Zillow?
21:53 - What is the best case board dynamic?
26:04 - How did Spencer balance internal and external stakeholder management through his founding journey?
29:52 - What advice would Spencer give to entrepreneurs navigating “the early stages of our recession?”
31:49 - What is Spencer hoping to accomplish with Pacaso and “fractional ownership” of property?
34:08 - What is the user journey of purchasing a Pacaso home?
35:09 - What is one sector that Spencer believes is undervalued at the moment?
35:33 - Who is a woman that has had a profound impact on Spencer and his career?
This week on The Room, we sat down with Zubin Koticha, co-founder and CEO of Opyn. Opyn is a decentralized finance platform for ethereum options, which recently raised their series A, lead by Paradigm only months after their seed. Zubin graduated from Berkley in 2018 after a Manu-year love and obsession with the crypto space. Post-graduation Zubin worked at Thunder researching blockchain but soon started open with his two co-founders Alexis and Aparna in 2019. Zubin has worked in the crypto space through highs and lows, but given today’s wildly hot crypto market, I think it's safe to say Zubin and the Opyn team are hitting product-market fit. Today we will learn more about fundraising during difficult times, navigating a pivot, and a lot about crypto, DeFi, and NFTs. Let's open the door. ...
Thank you for joining us for Season 6 of The Room Podcast! We are starting strong with our first guest, Shuo Wang. Her company Deel was evaluated at over $5 billion last year from their revolutionary work in remote work and international payrolling. Shuo joins us to talk about her experience at the Y Combinator and the impact it had on her work with Deel. Subjects continue with how the pandemic was a catalyst for the growth of Deel and what metrics Deel uses to track that success. Plus, we ask Shuo about her strategies for competitively innovating and expanding Deel. For The Room Podcast in your inbox every week, subscribe to our newsletter. 4:12 - Where did Shuo grow up and how has that shaped her worldview?7:01 - How did a Mechanical Engineering degree translate into founding?8:21 - What encouraged Shuo and her co-founder to start thinking about global hiring? 10:40 - How was Shuo’s experience at the Y Combinator and what was the MMVP of the Deel product?12:07 - What country first started using Deel’s services?12:45 - What is the core product of Deel?15:35 - Who was the first to say yes and invest in Deel?16:20 - How would Shuo define her role as co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer?17:15 - What was Shou’s strategy for competitively innovating Deel?18:52 - What tips does Shuo have for founders who think they over perfectionists?20:24 - What metric does Deel mainly use to track revenue?21:25 - How did the pandemic affect the growth of Deel?22:32 - When ...
This week, we sat down with Amy Nelson, CEO and founder of The Riveter, a digital and physical community for women. Spending 10 plus years in corporate law, Amy never thought she'd be a founder. However, after the 2016 election, she took a closer look at what mattered most to her - The Riveter was born. While it's been a challenging year for physical spaces, Amy has gallantly persevered by building a growing digital space proving our belief that "the room" is more than four walls. In today's episode, we'll explore insights and themes such as how political and venture fundraising have more in common than you might think, motherhood in the workplace, and core product pivots. Let's open the door. ...