Aug. 16, 2017

#10 Sudden Coffee

#10 Sudden Coffee

Two entrepreneurs believe they have the secret to making premium instant coffee. Will their startup hold up to a taste test with investors? 

Today's investors are Phil Nadel, Jillian Manus, Jake Chapman and Howie Diamond.


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Go behind-the-scenes with the founders and investors on The Pitch



From Gimlet, this is The Pitch. I’m Josh Muccio 

On this show, we venture into the world of startups, to a critical moment, when aspiring entrepreneurs put it all on the line and pitch investors for funding. 

Kalle: my passion is making that great coffee really easy and fun and accessible to as many people as I possibly can. 

Jillian: you can have the most incredible product, but if you don’t know how to talk about it, if it doesn’t have a brand identity, okay, you’re going to have a problem accelerating it. 

Today we hear from two co-founders who think they have figured out the secret to making premium instant coffee. Now can they get investors to put their bucks behind their beans?


Phil Nadel is the founder of Forefront Venture Partners. In pitches, you’ll hear him put the focus on the hard numbers. 


Phil: I don't like the model. I'm not seeing the path to recurring revenue.

Jillian Manus is here representing Structure Capital. When she invests in a company, it’s because she believes in the founder and their mission. 

Jillian: I always tell founders that early stage investors are actually co-founders.

Jake Chapman’s here with Gelt VC. He has a keen eye for detail, and makes sure to dot his I’s and cross his T’s before he invests. 

Jake: There are a ton, a ton of operational issues that you haven't had to address yet.

Howie Diamond founded the VC firm, Ranch Ventures. He’s not afraid to push founders to really defend their company and sell him on why he should invest. 

Howie: Everything you described can happen on an iPad. But you're saying that it should happen on a mirror on a wall. That's not convincing to me. 

Jake: She says it’s the best deal she’s ever gonna do in her life…

Jillian: No it’s the biggest thing I will ever do in my life 

Our two founders — Kalle and Josh — are all set to pitch to investors. They seem loose and relaxed. And right before they head into the studio, I find out why: they’ve been pitching a lot lately, and it’s gone very well. In fact, of the 3 million they’re trying to raise, they’ve already secured 2.9 million. 

Of course, the investors don’t know that yet—but they will—soon enough. 

Jillian: you’ve absconded with all my hot water… I wanted a cup of tea and they we’re like NOPE the founders have it. Ok, rock our socks! Oh yeah I could be rock my socks Jillian… It’s a little bit sexy don’t you think?

It’s pitch time.

Kalle: My background is pretty heavily in coffee. I’ve been a barista for almost ten years. Originally from Helsinki, Finland, where I started working in coffee. 

That’s Kalle, the co-founder of Sudden Coffee. 

Kalle Freese: I’m two-time Finnish barista champion and I was ranked as the - 

Phil: Two time what?

Kalle: Two-time Finnish barista champion.

Jillian: Barista?

Howie: Barista?

Phil: You have barista championships?

Kalle: Coffee making champion. Yes. 

Kalle got the title of coffee making champion by making the best tasting coffee in a competition where he had to make twelve drinks — four espressos, four cappuccinos and four signature drinks — all within a fifteen-minute period. 

But, for Kalle, coffee-making is not just about winning awards. 

Kalle: And to me what I love coffee - it’s really a concrete way of making somebody’s day better - by serving them a great cup of coffee. And my passion is making that great coffee really easy and fun and accessible to as many people as I possibly can. 

Kalle is not just any barista. He is really particular about his coffee. And he knows most people don't know how to brew it the right way. 

So he had an idea - he'll sell instant coffee, where all anyone has to do is add water and voila — they've got the perfect cup of coffee.

Kalle: So Sudden Coffee is instant coffee that you’ll actually want to drink.

Once Kalle had his idea for Sudden Coffee, he headed to San Francisco in search of a business partner. 

Josh Zloof: So yeah - so, I'm Josh. I'm the CEO of Sudden Coffee.

Phil: So Josh, Kalle is admittedly a coffee ninja. What’s your background?

Josh: Yeah. So I guess I’m sort of...

Phil: Are you a coffee champion?

Josh: I’m the 10th best, actually.

Phil: You are?

Jillian: Are you?

Phil: You’re trying to catch up.

Josh: No, no. No, I'm not. 

Joshua Zloof is the business side of Sudden Coffee. Previously, he was a consultant at McKinsey doing supply chain, then he went to Groupon and then another food startup.

Josh: Yeah, So my background is half operations, half tech. And so for me, I’m really passionate about how you can deliver really awesome offline experiences using technology.

So Kalle and Josh joined forces and they were all set to start selling instant coffee. But I know what you're thinking: doesn’t instant coffee taste really bad? 

Kalle: Fundamentally, instant coffee is liquid coffee that’s dehydrated. And it’s been around for a long time and everybody knows that it’s not great, right? And how it works is that the huge companies that make it so far get basically the cheapest, crappiest coffee around, roast it very dark, and then they extract it at very high temperature and pressure, actually twice, so that you get three times as much of it out of the bean as you would normally get when you brew the coffee. Then that liquid, which is really woody and bitter, is boiled down and sprayed with hot air, so you get rid of anything delicious that might be left in there. So you have a lot of this powder for very cheap, but it doesn’t taste great. 

Basically, we've all gotten accustomed to bad instant coffee because it's always made as cheaply as possible. But Kalle figures out how to dehydrate high quality coffee into a powder that is way better tasting. 

Josh: And that turned out to be Sudden Coffee.

Phil: So tell us about the process? Did you develop the process?

Kalle: Yes.

Jillian: Is this a patented process?

Kalle: It’s proprietary. It’s a trade secret.

Jillian: So it’s not patented?

Kalle: It’s not patented currently.

Jillian: So there’s no patent around it. There’s no defensibility, really.

Kalle: Well, I don’t think that having no patent means that there’s no defensibility.

What Kalle means is that his process of making instant coffee is what's special. They don't need a patent, because they have a process that's a trade secret. Kind of like how KFC doesn't have a patent on their fried chicken, they just have a secret recipe.

Once they developed this secret process of scalably producing their instant coffee, Kalle and Josh were ready to launch Sudden Coffee. 

Josh: And we’re now at the point where we’re trying to raise a $3 million round to really help us get to the next level of scale, both from a capacity standpoint, but mostly from a marketing standpoint. Yeah, who wants coffee by the way?

Howie: I don’t drink coffee, full disclaimer.

Phil: I don’t either.

Jake: I'll drink some.

Jillian: Funny thing is, I don’t drink coffee. But I used to drink coffee. So I figure I’ll take a sip. Because I used to love coffee. So this is not going to kill me. I’ll take a sip.

Only one of our investors actually drinks coffee. This is not great news for our founders who are trying to sell them on how good Sudden Coffee is. 

Nonetheless, they proceed undaunted, with Josh pulling tubes of sudden coffee out of a box. He pulls off the lids, empties the powder into a couple of mugs, and adds hot water. Then he hands them out to Jake and Jillian, the only investors who volunteered to try the product. 

Phil: The question for me is to you guys, how did it taste?

Jake: Normally I drink coffee with some cream and some sugar. And this is just black. And it’s actually not bitter at all. It’s really drinkable. And it’s not, a lot of instant coffees or like Keurig coffee, which I guess is not instant sort of instant. It’s pretty watery and really light. And this has, this is definitely a better product. It’s more full-flavored.

Phil: Does it taste like what you get at Starbucks?

Jake: I think Starbucks coffee is atrocious. I think their brewed coffee is atrocious.

Howie: So is this better than Starbucks?

Jake: Better than Starbucks. 

Howie: This is?

Jake: Yeah. The brewed coffee is better than Starbucks. The other stuff at Starbucks is delicious but it’s because they put all the other stuff in there, right? It’s good. It’s not as good as like a great cup of coffee at Philz would be, I think, or Blue Bottle.

Okay, so according to Jake, Sudden Coffee is better than Starbucks. And if you’ve driven down a street—any street—lately, you probably know Starbucks has a pretty impressive market share. 

Can Sudden Coffee be the Starbucks of instant coffee?

Jake: How big was the instant coffee market?

Kalle: $35 billion.

Howie: In the US or global?

Kalle: Worldwide. 

Howie: Didn’t I hear that the US is the lowest market for instant coffee?

Kalle: That’s correct. But we’re not targeting the people who drink instant coffee. We’re targeting people who go to Blue Bottle who kind of realize that they, first of all are willing to pay several dollars for a cup of coffee.

Howie: Right. So where do you fit in that model? I’m just confused. Where does instant coffee fit in that model? Is it for that, is that the target demographic? Who you are really targeting?

Kalle: I think, ultimately, we’re creating an alternative way of drinking good coffee. So it’s not meant to replace going out to a coffee shop when you have a chance to do that. It’s not meant to brew coffee at home. And like most people we talk with drink two cups of coffee a day. And the first one is very entrenched in their morning routine. And it’s about getting caffeine. It’s about the ritual that gets your morning going. And then the second cup, more often people have a problem with that. If you’re stuck at work and you only have capsule coffee that doesn’t taste great, we can help you drink good coffee when you’re there, when you’re traveling.

Jake: You’ve been selling since when?

Josh: January. January 2016.

Phil: How are you selling it?

Josh: It’s online only. As subscriptions.

Howie: How much is a subscription?

Kalle: Currently, it’s $2.50 a cup. Basically, the whole value proposition that I had in mind when we started working on this is making a cup of coffee that is as good as you can get at cafes. I mean, realistically, it’s not, it’s never going to be better than the best freshly brewed coffee. But it’s already better than 90% of what I get in good cafes. So you can have a great cup of coffee for half the price of what you would pay in a coffee shop. And you can have it anywhere

Howie: How much sales have you generated since January?

Josh: So we’ve done about 100k since January. We’re at 20k recurring.

Phil: How many subscribers is that?

Josh: So our peak was in July, we had 500 subscribers. I think now we’re closer to 400. 

Did you catch that? Over the course of just a few months, Sudden Coffee has lost 100 of its monthly subscribers. 

A declining customer base is obviously not an encouraging sign. Although it isn't all that uncommon for an early startup. After the initial launch, there's a spike in sales and then things often slow significantly, which can be really scary as a founder. But no matter how scary it is, our founder’s job right now is to project confidence to investors. 

Howie: What do you guys, when you raise this round, what’s your go to market strategy? Where do you go from here?

Josh: So there’s kind of a short-term and a long-term plan. Long term, our real vision is to build the world’s largest specialty cafe using technology. Sort of abstract all of the things you get from a cafe.

Howie: So start building a physical cafe? A brick and mortar?

Josh: No, a virtual cafe. The world’s largest virtual cafe. So this could look like an app, it could be through our website. So like how do we scale the things that Kalle would do in a cafe, to everyone in their home, either through their phone or through their computer, and kind of connect the online and offline experience.

Howie: Do people get brand loyalty and emotionally attached to coffee brands? Like Nescafe? Are there people, like... I don’t know. I don’t know the coffee market that well.

Jillian: There is and there isn’t. In one way, there’s loyalty until the next best thing comes along.

Howie: Like loyalty to the extent of let’s download an app and talk about coffee together?

Jillian: So they’re talking about a coffee community. Building a coffee community. There’s community formed in coffee shops organically, but I think and I might be wrong, that’s really not around the coffee but it’s around just the place, a destination. 

Howie: The environment.

Jillian: Right. It’s a destination.

Howie: That ritualistic aspect of getting coffee, I think is really important to the coffee ecosystem. And the coffee community. And I don’t know if you virtualize that.

Jillian: I’ll tell you what I see this as. And I kind of say it as I see it. I think this is good. I wouldn’t say I would drink it and say, wow, this is an amazing cup of coffee. Okay. I’ll be honest with you. However, what I see this as is not the best... It’s actually a marketing play. I don’t see anybody going around saying this is the best cup of instant coffee I’ve ever had. But it’s getting people to accept it as the best instant coffee they’ve ever had because it has the authority, one of the leading authorities behind it, saying I use a special process, I am this and that. And when you tell people that...

Phil: You can romance it.

Jillian: You can romance it.

Howie: Yeah. To extend on that, I was actually thinking along the same lines to roll this out, have you guys thought about doing a crowdfunding campaign? 

This is not what our founders want to be hearing. When an investor starts suggesting crowdfunding, it’s a subtle signal that they think the company hasn’t yet found its footing. And Kalle and Josh haven’t given them much reason to believe otherwise—they’ve pointed to declining sales, but not to the 2.9 million Sudden Coffee has already raised. 

And let me be clear — that money matters. When a startup has raised most of its round, it lets investors know it’s been carefully vetted and establishes credibility. It also means everyone can move on to more advanced questions.

Now is the time for Kalle and Josh to jump in and get this conversation on track.

Howie: I think there’s a way to tell your story that is really interesting that could differentiate you, and that could also allow you to get some credibility in the market, and it could also allow you to presell your product so you could actually gauge demand without having to take any sort of inventory risk or anything like that. I think that’s a really great way to get this out there.

Jillian: Absolutely.

Jake: That’s a surprisingly great suggestion from Howie.

Howie: Yeah, very rare. 

Phil: There is no great leader in this space, and you have that opportunity. It’s wide open for you. 

Jillian: This is like a superbrand. And I think you have the opportunity to put a cape on it and just let it soar. You can have the most incredible product, but if you don’t know how to talk about it, if it doesn’t have a brand identity, you’re going to have a problem accelerating it. You have a good product, and it might be great, but for me right now it’s just a solid product. 

Howie: So I don’t think they need much money for all of this. 

Jillian: No, I don’t think. I really don’t.

Howie: I mean, we’re talking about a couple hundred k, maybe.

Phil: Well, especially because they’re only four weeks away from launching at scale in terms of their production, so they can keep up with the demand.

I have to say, at this point I’m sitting in the control booth listening to this pitch thinking: Kalle! Josh! Take control and tell the investors how much money you’ve already raised. 

Howie: But I think you need to tell your story at scale. Like, tell your story to the masses, and you have a platform now to do that.

Josh: So and we keep debating this internally. And by the way we should come back to, we have fundraising news that we should disclose at the end. But we keep coming to this debate internally about should we do a crowdfunding campaign. And Kalle has always been pushing hard that we should do a crowdfunding campaign. And my question is always at the end of the day we’re still going to have a problem driving impressions to the campaign.

Jillian: Now you’re going to tell us that you’ve raised $2.7 million from Sequoia.

Howie: Give us the reveal.

Jillian: And piss off!

Phil: They have some news percolating.

Jillian: Yeah, I can see.

Howie: Yeah, what's your big news?

Jake: Oh! Percolating!

Phil: Tell us what’s been brewing.

Jillian: I hate you.

Howie: There it is!

Jillian: Tell us what’s been brewing. Oh bother.

Josh: We purposely left room on the round.

Jillian: What, like 100?

Josh: Yeah. There’s 100 left on the round.

Jillian: No, really, how much is left on the round? There’s 100?

Josh: There’s 100 left on the round.

Jake: So you raised 2.9?

Josh: We raised 2.9 from Charles River Ventures is our lead. And this is our second round. So we raised 500k a year ago.

Jillian: At what valuation?

Josh: The valuation on this round is 6.25 pre.

After spending half the pitch coming up with crowdfunding and marketing strategies, the investors find out that Sudden Coffee already has 2.9 million in the bank. 

But it's late in the conversation, and there's not much time to talk about it. 

It's decision time now. 

Here's Phil.

Phil: Let me just say that I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t have a lot of passion about this space. Also, as a result, it’s difficult for me to get your big vision for the idea of the virtual, what did you refer to it as? A virtual coffee shop kind of thing. It’s difficult for me because I don’t go to coffee shops, I don’t drink coffee. And I think the brand is very powerful, and that is extremely cool. And I’m going to pass.

So Phil passed. Here’s Howie.

Howie: I mean You could have probably launched a crowdfunding campaign, come back around and raised money at a much higher valuation. Because right now you’re diluting yourself by like, you’re giving up half the company. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t really do a lot of consumer product good companies that much, so it’s probably not the right fit for me.

All right, so Howie passed. Only Jake and Jillian remain. Maybe the founders have some hope with Jake, though. He hasn't said much, but he's the only one in the room to actually finish his cup of Sudden Coffee.

Jake: I am a coffee drinker. I drink at least two cups a day, probably more like three on average. I think it’s a good cup of coffee. It wouldn’t replace a Philz or a Blue Bottle for me, but I know that’s not the market you’re going after. My biggest problem though is that for me, place is very important. It’s physically being there. And it’s because I want to get out of my home office for a while. Or I had a meeting somewhere and I’ve got another meeting in an hour and I need a place to park it. I’m just not the right consumer, so for me it means I’m probably not the right investor. So I’m going to have to pass.

So Jillian is the only investor left. Of all the investors in the room, she's the one who had the clearest vision for how to build the brand of Sudden Coffee. Or as she put it, put a cape on it and let it soar. 

Jillian: I am on the fence. And the reason is, as I said, I don’t see this coffee as being so special. But I do see you and you being special. And certainly, you don’t need our money. You know, 100 grand you could fill up, you could go anywhere and fill up 100 grand. So the money, this 100 grand is going to hopefully, I would say leave it open for somebody who is going to bring some huge, huge value to this. If that’s all you have left.

Josh: That’s exactly, we’re specifically looking for brand help. That’s specifically why we left cash open. Literally. That is our goal.

Phil: Smart.

Jillian: Yes. Right. Well, here is the thing. I no longer drink coffee. And I just, I’m really, really sitting on the fence on this.

Phil: That’s painful.

Jillian: And I’ll tell you the other reason is, you have only 100 left. When I get involved with a company, and especially one that has such a bold brand and that is where I want to direct my energy to, but I just, for $100,000 it’s not, I can’t say it’s not worth my time, but in a lot of ways I would need much more of the company to give you 100% of my attention. So, I’m going to pass for that reason, pretty much.

Phil: We appreciate you guys coming in, and honestly really do appreciate your having the courtesy to save a piece for us. That was, you know, that’s great.

Josh: Yeah.

Phil: I think you’re smart to go for a strategic investor who can add a lot of value. Unfortunately, we’re not it, but that was great that you made it available to us. And you guys are going to crush it. I think you’re onto something.

Jake: Amazing team, right? For this company, you couldn’t have put together a better team.

Jillian: Really, like a dream team. And interestingly enough, one of the things I look for is I always look for two founders. I mean, I invest in more companies with two founders, and that’s kind of a philosophy of Structure, is that we definitely look for two founders. Exactly the composition you have here. 

Josh: Okay.

Howie: I’ll just leave you with a little bit of advice. Just make sure, keep grinding.

Jillian: Oh my God. That is so unfair.

So all of the investors passed on this deal. This was one of those pitches that feels like—on any given day—it could have gone totally differently. Maybe if Josh or Kalle had mentioned their fundraising earlier, the investors would have taken them a bit more seriously right from the start. Or maybe not. Maybe pitching coffee to people who don’t drink coffee is just too hard of a sell. 

After the break, we’ll find out who is drinking coffee — Sudden Coffee, that is. 

Josh: Hey Josh.. 

Zloof: Hey how's it going?

Welcome back to The Pitch. Almost 10 months after this recording, I got Josh on the phone and found out a lot has happened happened since we last met.

Josh: it's been almost a year since you came on the show. So much has to have happened. But first I kind of want to just like revisit what happened in the room from your perspective. What do you remember about the pitch being in the room with Kalle and pitching the four investors?

Zloof: I think that one of the biggest things that stands out was, was realizing that none of the investors drank coffee or only one of them drink coffee and we’re like OK this is going to be tough. 

Josh: Surprise surprise.

Zloof: I mean this is even when we have customer you know we're pitching when we pitch vendors who want to buy and we talk to the purchasing guy and we walk into the meeting and I get I only drink coffee but you know I like the smell and we're just like OK this is over this is my time. Yes so. So a little bit of that obviously. You know I think the standout moment of that of that interview or that pitch was me not being up front early enough about the allocation left in the round so that was fun. 

Josh: They kept telling you to raise some crowdfunding. And you're right we've already raised most of our round.

Zloof: Yeah like I remember trying to hand gesture like just like point to like get in there which is like a nervous tic I have and I just couldn't get it. I just like couldn't get their attention and be like OK guys hold off. Let's come back to you. you know it's one of these ideas are just building off of each other. So I think one investor talking other was like yeah it's a really good idea and you should do this this and this, and another person is like and you know and that turned into this you know few minutes of kind of brainstorming and the energy in the room got really amped about doing crowdfunding. And then when it finally came back to me it was like yes so you know I agree with the group. I think you should really skip racing around and go for crowdfunding. And I was like, “Okay, let me let me reorient a little bit.”

Josh: Now that we’ve come to that conclusion that's never going to happen. 

Zloof: Right. Exactly. 

Josh: So let's talk about, since you came on the pitch what's happened in your business like it’s been a year -

Zloof: yep 

Josh: what's happened since then?

Zloof: It's been super interesting so you know when we started the business we were targeting sort of like the millennial male coffee drinker - you know, these are people who go to Blue Bottle, um, we were going after them and we spent four months and this was through Y combinator trying to go after them again and again [might need RT here]. And so finally our our chairwoman Caterina Fake was like hey you guys got to go through your customers one at a time on Facebook. Ignore everyone who has not been with you for four months. Filter out San Francisco and New York because those markets are going to be influenced by your social networks and see who your customers are. Go really deep in customer research. And realized hey our customers are actually 35 to 55. They live outside of cities. They tend to live in suburbs. They have big houses, they're well-educated. A lot of them are doctors, professors, etc. But they live you know in a suburb of Nashville for example. And and that was an entirely different segment that we were going for. And and you know all of a sudden made a ton of sense. These are folks who probably their alternatives or Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. They don't have a specialty café around them. They have to drive to get there. And—

Josh: It sounds like in the beginning you guys were targeting yourselves.

Zloof: Exactly. 

Josh: This happened how long after you came on our show what's so like when when was this hap— when did you have this realisation, this year?

ZLOOP: Yes. So this happened in April and then we haven't really so since then we're like OK now we have to use an entirely different marketing approach. So part of it's like telling the user story. where you show the routine of a potential customer like a doctor and they get this package in the mail and they make their coffee in the morning And then they go do their job and then they go to their hobby. and the coffee fit into their day as an awesome moment. But they also have other interests and they do other things. 

There was something else I needed to ask Josh. When we were emailing to set up this call, he happened to mention that Kalle— the award-winning barista, slash co-founder of Sudden Coffee—was no longer working full-time with the company.

Josh: So Kalle was he just not on board with this new focus was he, was he tired of working on Sudden Coffee? Like, why? What happened? 

Zloof: Um, I think he got down to the point where we were to shift this marketing strategy. It was just an entirely different skill set. And I think it was also, got to be a slog of hit it of like doing the same thing over and over again. And I think you know Kalle is an amazing inventor type. He loves coming up with new ideas, creating new innovations in coffee and so we were shifting where you know we kind of figured that part out and we didn't have the capacity to focus on, you know a bunch of new different flavors in coffee just yet. And so it kind of made sense to say hey you know take a break like you know take a break from this you know he's still a founder still we still you know I saw him just last night actually. So you know we're still, he’s still involved And I think you know for him personally I think he wanted to explore different things and and take a break and have some fun for a little bit. 


This is the exciting thing about meeting founders as they’re growing their companies: watching them discover what they’ve actually built. Often they start out like Sudden Coffee, trying to sell something to a customer exactly like themselves—and they’re kind of stuck in that mentality. And then, you come back nearly a year later, and they’ve made some serious adjustments, they’ve got a way more nuanced vision of their company, and then you know—the fun is just getting started


Zloof: It feels like we're about to just bring something to the world that that will bring a lot of joy. 


Josh: Coffee and joy they do go hand-in-hand. 


Zloof: Coffee and joy - our new tagline. 


Josh: and energy coffee and joy there you go!


Josh wasn’t ready to announce his company’s subscriber numbers quite yet, but he did share this: as of Spring 2017, they’ve sold over 100,000 cups of Sudden Coffee.


To hear scenes from next week’s episode, stay tuned til after the credits.

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Our show is produced by me, Josh Muccio, Astha Chathurvedi, and Rob Szypko. We are edited by Devon Taylor.

Special thanks to Colleen Pellisier and Allison Behringer, who originally produced this episode back in our indie podcast days.

Our Theme Music is by Breakmaster Cylinder, with original music composed by The Muse Maker, Bobby Lord, and Edwin. We were mixed by Enoch Kim.

Thanks to Lisa Muccio for planning the season 2 recording event last fall. 

And a quick disclaimer, no offer to invest is being made to or solicited from the listening audience on today’s show.

Also, I do want to say a quick thank you to the original sponsor of season 2, the It’s Worth Doing Right Family 

All right -- you’ve been listening to The Pitch from Gimlet Media. I’m Josh Muccio. See you next week.

Next week on the pitch

Haydn: Tesloop is building the world’s leading sustainable mobility service. We’re perfecting inter-city transit between 50 and 300 miles. 

Jake: How did you bring in your CEO? Where’d you find him and make that connection?

Haydn: The CEO is my dad. 

Jillian: That’s great.

Haydn: So I’ve known him for a little bit. 

Jillian: All we’re saying is that we think you’re on to something. That’s the good news.

Howie: I think you’re leaving money on the table.

Jillian: We think you’re leaving money on the table. That’s the even better news.

New episodes come out on Wednesdays at 12 pm Eastern. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.

Phil NadelProfile Photo

Phil Nadel

Investor on The Pitch

Phil Nadel is the Founder and Managing Director of Forefront Venture Fund and of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest syndicates on AngelList. He has started and sold several companies and has invested in more than 200 startups with several exits.

Jillian Manus // Structure CapitalProfile Photo

Jillian Manus // Structure Capital

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1–10

Jillian Manus is Managing Partner of an early-stage Silicon Valley venture fund, Structure Capital. Branded “Architects of the Zero Waste Economy," they invest in underutilized assets and excess capacity. She was named one of the top 25 early-stage Female Investors by Business Insider in 2021. Jillian serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, these include: Stanford University School of Medicine Board of Fellows, NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Jake Chapman

Investor on The Pitch

Jake Chapman is a Managing Director at Army Venture Capital Corporation and focuses on companies working on technology that enhances the national security of the United States of America. The sectors I focus on are AI, Robotics, Aerospace, Autonomy, Quantum Computing, Semiconductors, Manufacturing, Security, Biotech, Defense, Energy and related industries.

Howie Diamond // Pure VenturesProfile Photo

Howie Diamond // Pure Ventures

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1, 4 & 10

Howie Diamond is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Pure Ventures, and early stage investment firm that also invests in the development of its founders. Also a musician, Howie founded and sold a music management/licensing company in Los Angeles called Lo-Fi Music. After that, he moved to San Francisco and began working closely with dozens of start-ups running business development for a Bay-Area tech agency called Sparkart.

Joshua Zloof

Co-founder of Sudden Coffee

Kalle Freese

Co-founder of Sudden Coffee