The Non-Linear Journey to Product-Market Fit

The Non-Linear Journey to Product-Market FitRyan Croft is the co-founder and COO of TransitScreen, a technology company in DC that helps millions of people save commute time by providing real time display of local transportation information at different locations.

In this episode, Ryan shared the story of how TransitScreen found its market sweet spot by continuously studying its customers, trying new approaches and failing repeatedly. The journey to product-market fit is not a straight line. And Ryan’s story demonstrated that so well.

“I was a serial networker. I would go to an event every night or every other night, to meet as many people as possible, to get our name out there, and to try to understand our market. It was a lot of trial and error, with people saying no over and over again.”


– Ryan Croft




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How to find your business’s unique positioning through continued experimentation

How to find your business’s unique positioning through continued experimentationAlex Hastings and Mike Galyen are co-founders of Guerrilla Vending, a company that creates custom curated vending machines, in collaboration with local Washington DC businesses.

In this episode, Alex and Mike talked about how they started Guerrilla Vending with a refurnished vending machine they found online, and how they discovered their business’ market sweet spot by constantly experimenting with different products they could carry and learning from their own mistakes.

“We had too many ideas (about what to put in the vending machines). We had to see what worked and what didn’t. There was a lot of trial and error.”


-Alex Hastings

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How To Create Network Effect For Your Product

Param Jaggi

Param Jaggi is the founder and CEO of Hatch Technologies, a company working to democratize the software development industry.

Param is an inventor and serial entrepreneur. At the age of 13, he invented the EcoTube, a patented device that reduces carbon emissions from cars. At the age of 18, he founded Ecoviate— a R&D organization focused on redefining consumer sustainability. Param has won numerous awards and was twice featured in the Forbes “30 under 30” list.

In this episode, Param talked about how he built his first mobile app while in high school and acquired users for the app largely through network effect, and how he started his second company, Hatch, in the process of doing traditional software development work for other companies.

“I’m a strong believer in building network effect into your product. You want to figure out how people can use your platform in a way that lets other people know about the platform as well. ”

– Param Jaggi


Hatch Technologies

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Halcyon Incubator


What To Do When Your Entrepreneurial Idea Didn’t Work Out First

Thomas Schneider

Thomas Schneider is the founder of Rooftop Roots, a non-profit organization that designs, builds, and maintains vegetable gardens and native landscapes in the DC area.

When Thomas first started the organization, his idea was to build vegetable gardens on rooftops of buildings in DC. But after experimenting for a while, the idea didn’t prove to be very practical economically. Thomas had to try something else while still pursuing his passion of sustainability and urban agriculture. In this episode, he talked about how he pivoted his organization and business model and what he learned along the way.

“It’s taken a long time to build the body of business knowledge. But I’m stubborn and I hate to give up on things…And I consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I do.”

– Thomas Schneider


Rooftop Roots

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Powering the Gig Economy with Mobile Technology

powering the gig economy with mobile technology

Jeff Tennery is the founder and CEO of Moonlighting, an online marketplace connecting freelancers with potential employers.

Armed with decades of experience in mobile technology and media, Jeff was inspired to build a mobile platform enabling people to work on things they truly love, while enjoying career independence.

In this episode, Jeff talked about his idea validation process and the initial challenges he encountered, how to broaden awareness for a marketplace like Moonlighting, and some lessons he learnt in the process of building his company.

“Running a startup is like running a sprinted marathon, you have to hustle all the way.”

– Jeff Tennery



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How to Change A Traditional Industry with New Technology


Erik Dreyer is the co-founder of Goodshuffle, an online event rental marketplace specializing in party and event supply rentals.

Goodshuffle was originally launched as a peer–to-peer rental marketplace, but Erik and his co-founder Andrew Garcia quickly pivoted the business to focus on the event rental segment, when they discovered that this industry was very fragmented and could be made more productive with both online ordering plus business software for rental company owners.

In this episode, Erik talked about how he started and pivoted the business, his experience of quitting a day job and focusing fully on entrepreneurship, and what he learned along the way.

“Having a killer startup advisory team will help your business achieve that extra mile with fewer hurdles.”

– Erik Dreyer



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How to Turn Your Passion into A Thriving Business

Meredith Sheperd

Meredith Sheperd is the founder of Love & Carrots, a DC-based sustainable urban farming company specializing in custom vegetable garden installation and maintenance.

When Meredith decided to move back to the city after wrapping up a farm management job, she found very limited urban agricultural job openings in the DC area. Passionate about farming and environmental sustainability, she started her own service helping city residents turn their backyards into vegetable gardens. Love & Carrots was born in 2011.

In this episode, Meredith talked about how she started the business from nothing, developed a loyal customer base relying almost entirely on grassroot community outreach, and the ups and downs along the way.

“Running this business has given me confidence and realigned my life with my purpose.”

– Meredith Sheperd


Love & Carrots

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How to Build A Membership-Based Business

how to build a membership based business

Peter Mellen is the founder and CEO of Netcito, a network of peer advisory groups for entrepreneurs and innovators. He is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in online business and commercial real estate and is an entrepreneur in residence (EiR) at Georgetown University, where he also leads the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance.

In this episode, Peter talked about how he built Netcito from an informal gathering of entrepreneurs to a membership business. He also shared insights on why a support group is important for entrepreneurs and how to find work-life alignment as a founder.

“Your work should be aligned with who you are and what you want to create in the world.”

– Peter Mellen



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How to Start A Serious Business in College

how to start a serious business in college

David Patou is the founder and CEO of Campus Sherpa, a student-run company that offers personalized college tours by real college students.

David started Campus Sherpa during his freshman year at Georgetown University. In this episode, he talked about the personal inspirations he had for starting this business, how to build a minimal viable product (MVP), refining and validating the business model and how to get early traction for your startup.

“There is never a convenient time to launch the business. It always comes with the opportunity cost. Starting off small as a side project is a good way to test the waters.”

– David Patou


Campus Sherpa

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How to Build A Social Networking Platform

how to build a social networking platform

Ian Kaine MacGregor is the founder and CEO of Hitcher, a social media platform that allows users to build more targeted networks and have more control over their online privacy compared to the mainstream social networks.

During his time working in the design industry, Ian created tons of successful social media marketing campaigns for large enterprises. He had the idea to build a social media platform that was exclusive, and could eliminate unwanted social noise to create experiences with the people who really mattered in one’s life. In this episode, Ian talked about how he validated his idea, how he found collaborators for his project, how to deal with setbacks and acquire users, and why idea and passion do matter in this day and age when execution is emphasized over anything.

“(while execution is important) Ideas do matter. You have to trust your ideas.”

– Ian Kaine MacGregor



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