There are the highs, and then there are the lows. Fortunately, there is support available to navigate the roller-coaster that is entrepreneurship (including what we offer here at New Hope). Industry experts are also stepping up to utilize new and trendy media forms to accommodate the ubiquitous craziness of the startup life.
One such resource is a new podcast by VMG Partners, a firm that invests solely in branded consumable products and continues to add natural and organic products to its portfolio. The podcast’s content takes a look at the trials that happen before a company makes it big—catching them mid-stream. Co-creators Robin Tsai and Wayne Wu say "Unfinished Biz" is built to highlight stories of people in the midst of building their businesses, and broadcasting that to the universe of founders who are in the thick of it.
As managing directors at VMG, Wu’s and Tsai’s days are filled with talking to founders from the time they start their businesses, and those conversations were the genesis for the project. “What makes the people at VMG excited to do what we do is we really want to work with great founders to help them build iconic brands. So, what we talk about is: What can we do to actually improve our founders’ lives?” says Tsai.
“There’s a good amount of publicity for folks who’ve gone and already been ‘successful’ with their brands,” Tsai adds. “Folks are really excited to interview those founders and they’re able to tell these beautiful stories of how it all came together and how it was amazing and how it all worked out well.” As he sees it, those stories are certainly inspirational, but not entirely relatable.
It's not all rainbows and unicorns, as Tsai puts it. He thinks hearing these honest stories can make the journey less lonely for founders by hearing that others are going through the same thing. The stories are meant to balance to what reasonable success the show’s guests have already had with the hiccups they’ve had to battle, and provide inspiration to keep fighting. “It gives a realistic look at what even successful entrepreneurship looks like,” says Wu.
But don’t think the project is just an opportunity to promote VMG brands. They say only a small percentage of the guests on Unfinished Biz will be former or current VMG portfolio companies, and they plan to keep the focus on a diverse group of entrepreneurs across categories. “This is a forum to promote the reality of entrepreneurship,” says Wu.
The unpolished hosts bring a unique perspective and authenticity as they talk about the individual journeys of the guests. Through their investor lenses they will occasionally share their opinions on how they’d look at a business and whether they would have considered investing in it.
Guests so far include natural industry heavyweights Koel Thomae, founder of Noosa Yoghurt, and Bill Keith, founder of Perfect Bar. The next episode will drop next week with an honest chat with Neil Grimmer, mastermind behind Habit and co-founder of Plum Organics.
The four ad-free episodes available are a digestible 30 to 45 minutes long and can be accessed from your favorite podcast app or at unfinishedbiz.com.