Venture & Bootstrap: A Unicorns Story w/ Matheus Riolfi | Ep. 119

February 06, 2024 Big Pixel Season 1 Episode 119
Venture & Bootstrap: A Unicorns Story w/ Matheus Riolfi | Ep. 119
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Venture & Bootstrap: A Unicorns Story w/ Matheus Riolfi | Ep. 119
Feb 06, 2024 Season 1 Episode 119
Big Pixel

In this podcast episode, David and Gary speak with Matheus Riolfi,  Co-Founder and CEO of Tint,  a company that empowers others  to unlock growth and improve profitability with their own embedded protection products. If you love unicorns, money and a little dash of heart- this episode is for you.



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OR comment on our YouTube videos! - Big Pixel, LLC - YouTube

Our Hosts

David Baxter - CEO of Big Pixel

Gary Voigt - Creative Director at Big Pixel

The Podcast

David Baxter has been designing, building, and advising startups and businesses for over ten years. His passion, knowledge, and brutal honesty have helped dozens of companies get their start.

In Biz/Dev, David and award-winning Creative Director Gary Voigt talk about current events and how they affect the world of startups, entrepreneurship, software development, and culture.

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Music by: BLXRR

Show Notes Transcript

In this podcast episode, David and Gary speak with Matheus Riolfi,  Co-Founder and CEO of Tint,  a company that empowers others  to unlock growth and improve profitability with their own embedded protection products. If you love unicorns, money and a little dash of heart- this episode is for you.



Submit Your Questions to:

OR comment on our YouTube videos! - Big Pixel, LLC - YouTube

Our Hosts

David Baxter - CEO of Big Pixel

Gary Voigt - Creative Director at Big Pixel

The Podcast

David Baxter has been designing, building, and advising startups and businesses for over ten years. His passion, knowledge, and brutal honesty have helped dozens of companies get their start.

In Biz/Dev, David and award-winning Creative Director Gary Voigt talk about current events and how they affect the world of startups, entrepreneurship, software development, and culture.

Contact Us


FB | IG | LI | TW | TT : @bigpixelNC

Big Pixel

1772 Heritage Center Dr

Suite 201

Wake Forest, NC 27587

Music by: BLXRR

David: [00:00:00] I think startups come in all shapes and sizes and success looks. A million different ways and it's not all about unicorns. Now, unicorns are cool. Don't get me wrong as neat and they're sexy. 

Hi everyone. Welcome to the biz dev podcast, the podcast about developing your business. I'm David Baxter joined as always by Gary Voigt, who is continuing this lame beanie trend he's doing here. I don't understand it. I told him earlier that I think he's using beanies to hide the plugs that he's adding to his air.

But, uh,

I don't know what's up

Gary: have a pink mohawk and it's just not professional, so I'm covering it. I gotta wait until it goes away.

David: like 80 style, where it's like a foot tall, the spikes. Is that what we're going with?

Gary: Yeah, I mean, Macho Man style, kinda. WWE, it's got some feathers in there.

David: Nice. Nice. More importantly, we are joined by Matthias Reolfi, who is the co [00:01:00] founder and CEO at Tent. Welcome.

Matheus: Hey guys, uh, thank you very much for having me here. It's a pleasure.

David: So I'm going to jump into it. Well, no, I'm not. I'm not. I'm going to start asking you a simple question. What is tent? That's an easy one. Let's go with softballs,

Matheus: Yeah. I mean, very easy question, a complicated answer, but basically Tint is an embedded insurance platform. So we help companies like Airbnb and other companies put insurance into their products. Uh, so we provide everything they need behind the scenes, the technology, the legal compliance, capital, all this stuff that goes about. Making something as simple as offering insurance to customers. So think about in the case of Airbnb and again for the record, they are not a customer. Whenever you book a place and if it burns or everything happens, do you break the TV or? There is insurance in place and you'll be taken care of. And Airbnb has hundreds of people [00:02:00] that all they do full time is you're making sure that this insurance piece works and basically Tint makes it easy for any company to do the same.

David: man. That is so interesting because I had no idea how that worked. I mean, I'm using Airbnb as an example because you did, but all the time there is the, you're insured, but they always name it right. They always have some fun name that says you're up to a million dollars, this, that, and the other. Because if I remember correctly, now this might've been before tent existed, but early in their days, someone just wrecked.

Matheus: Yes. and that's how they got insurance. It's public. You can see it. That's the first time 1 million protection in place. Was when a group of people completely destroyed, um, house and they had a crazy party with drugs and other crazy things going on

Gary: Yeah, I 

Matheus: the house. And then they figure out that they are responsible and then eventually they put an insurance in place.

So now. Not only for crazy events, but even like small things, it's [00:03:00] your daughter or your son kind of, uh, spills wine on the couch while you're drinking and then suddenly you are liable for 2, 000 couch. Now it's all covered. Um, but again, it's very simple idea. Very complicated behind the scenes. You make

David: no, I can imagine.

Matheus: properly.

David: So you're not working with Airbnb. Can you say anyone you are working with or is it all hush hush? So

Matheus: no, we have a few public customers. We just closed. So we work with the, um, the largest shipping marketplace called you ship. We work with, uh, one of the largest H. R. providers called deal. Um, we work with neighbor. We work with guest. Um, I think, um, those insistent shipper. I think those are the public customers that we disclosed, but we work with, uh, um, tens of others that, um, help them power the insurance products.

David: are you open to anybody? Like I understand the SAS and connecting to SAS and all that stuff. Software is a platform system thing. Um, [00:04:00] but is there something you're like, no, that's scary. That's too scary. We don't allow insurance of shipping live snakes or something like that. Or is it. What else? Cause our policies are open and easy.

Matheus: Yeah. So I think it's both. I would say we are the most creative and, uh, most creative companies when it comes to insurance. We do help ensure some very creative risks. As you talk about live animals, citizen shippers, as a case in point, they help ship dogs. So if you buy a dog from a breeder in New York and you live in San Francisco, They help, you know, they facilitate this transportation and obviously it's a live animal, something wrong can happen and we help them create a protection that if there's anything goes wrong, the dog needs a vet or whatever it is, is covered, um, by insurance.

So that is like, say, a lot of companies wouldn't do that. Uh, we do crypto, I didn't mention Quantstamp, [00:05:00] which is one of our customers is on the crypto space. So we definitely have like more appetite that we help facilitate. More, uh, different or special to use cases than your average insurer. But there is that there's already there are limits.

Like, if somebody wants to ensure something that costs 10, 000, 000 and pay 1 for it, but that's probably not going to happen. So, uh, the straight answer here is like, yeah, we will. We will be as creative as we can, but there are limits, there are time zones, which is, there are no carriers that are interested in covering that risk, but now insurers do.

David: Sure. So behind the scenes, are you actually an insurance company with a software pretty face, or do you work with a bunch of insurance companies into your software platform?

Matheus: Yeah, we are an intermediary or a broker for like a better world with a pretty tech. Um, but we work with insurers to kind of take the risk. We don't take those risks ourselves.

David: Okay. So how did you get into this [00:06:00] world? I mean, I see on your profile here that you're an insurance nerd, which is. An interesting thing to admit, but

Gary: it's, it's 

Matheus: Yeah, yeah. No, I get it. And the answer to your question is obviously by accident. Nobody will get your insurance by their own choice. It's just something that happens to them. And 100 percent of the insurance professionals are probably in the same boat. But in my case, I joined Turo, which was a, it is a PHP or car sharing startup. So they have people as Airbnb for cars, right? They help people rent out and rent cars from other folks. Um, I joined the company if thought I was joining a tech company, which tour is a tech company. But it turns out that I spent 80 percent of my time figuring out insurance. Um, in hindsight is obvious because you know, if you want to get a car from your neighbor, It's highly complicated from a risk perspective, especially because there are Porsches, Ferraris, there's like everything you can imagine there. Um, and so everybody, uh, [00:07:00] different people are using cars for different ways and that breaks all the insurance frameworks you can imagine gets the insurance is scary. So Turo spent a lot of time and effort to put insurance in place. Um, and I was one of the early employees involved in all of that and the reality is like, I really liked because. Insurance fundamentally is a data problem. It's about trying to figure out the future, trying to figure out what's going to happen when this is this marketplace and the people are renting cars in different places, like how do you predict how many accidents are going to happen, how much it's going to cost.

So you can price it. I found like incredibly, uh, stimulating, like intellectually speaking. So it is really a data problem and I'm a tech guy. I'm a, I'm a business person, but I'm a tech business person. And I love finance as well. So I think insurance kind of, um, bridge this to, uh, the two sides. And that's kind of how I got to [00:08:00] insurance.

David: Where are you guys at in your life cycle? Are you on a runway? Are you profitable? Are you just getting up and running? I mean, obviously you have publicly facing companies, but where are you guys at?

Matheus: We, uh, we are a venture backed company. Um, so I think, you know, as most of the venture backed model, uh, profitability, you know, it has become a lot more important to us. So I think we're definitely on the path to profitability. We raised about 30 million dollars and a lot of this. Uh, before this kind of market crisis.

So we're lucky enough that we were very well capitalized and canned, uh, which time the few more years, even if we don't get to profitability, which is, I'll tell you a luxury in today's market. I think we'll see this year, a lot of startups that unfortunately we'll get to the end of the runway and won't be able to raise the next round.

And then luckily, um, we are in a much better situation.

David: How do you, and [00:09:00] this is, I mean, most of our audience are people who want to start up early stage. They're thinking of making the big plunge, whatever. So the idea of raising 30 million is like mind blowing to the average person. Cause at least locally. You know, I'm in Raleigh and so that kind of capital is not possible really to raise here.

Uh, there are definitely funds and stuff, but you might get a million, maybe two, right? Otherwise you got to go west, right? You got to go to san francisco when you and i'm assuming That's where your money came from as well. The west coast is that

Matheus: It did. Yes. Most of our investors are Bay Area based, even though our biggest check or a company who led our Series A, uh, which is called QED. They are based in Washington DC, but I'd say other than them, most of the rest, I think would be, um, West Coast based.

David: And had you had other experience raising big funds before or was this a first [00:10:00] shot for you? How did you get into that? I mean, that's a lot of success there

Matheus: First, uh, first time, I mean, I had done a couple of other kinds of side businesses, uh, before I started Tent, but it was the first time that I was in a venture backed business that now raised. Um, that amount, and I would say the one answer I'll give you to the question is like, Oh, 30 minutes mind blowing. But the reality is like you're raising in stages, right? I think in our case. The first check or the first kind of round we did was about four hundred thousand dollars 400, 500, which is, I mean, it's true enough for like two people and an idea is it's true something that you can mostly get in the West Coast, not as easy, um, anywhere else, but we raised five hundred then I think we raised another four four and a little bit, and then we raised another twenty five So it's kind of in, um, Um, in stages and that's the beauty of this model. Like you [00:11:00] have to prove step by step. You don't have to go all the way to, um, to the high numbers. And the other thing I would add to this is like, we did all of this through the whatever 2020, 2021 markets, right? If we had to do it again in the current markets, different story.

I don't think we will be. Um, able or would even like want to raise that much money. I think we'll have different assumptions at a time. So for the founders in your audience, don't worry. I think if you can get the, get the business off the ground, the first 100, 200 K that puts you in a great place should then go step by step.

Um, as, as you need it.

David: I see in your profile that you are an alum of YC, Y Combinator. How did that play a role? How, I mean, that's the, so let me back up. So for those who don't know and correct me where I'm wrong, because obviously you're more of an expert than I am, but that is the creme de la creme incubator [00:12:00] slash accelerator that was created.

I don't even know what long time ago, early digital 

Matheus: 10 years. Yeah. Yeah. 

David: and you know, their alumni is the who's who of most startups you've ever heard of, like big names, Airbnb. I know it's a big one. Um, they've gone through Y Combinator. It's the, that's the best of the best. I don't think anybody would even argue that there's a lot of them out there, but I know why YC is, is the beast.

So how did that change thing? That is that where those first few rounds came from, from those connections, or was it just an amazing experience? And you kind of did your own thing.

Matheus: No, the YC really helped. Um, to your point, they have a very strong brand, and then when you have yc, um, as part of your investors, like if, like it accelerates and helps. Any fundraising discussion and I think not only for us, but for every company. I think YC is no longer enough. Um, the reality is that their batch sizes now are [00:13:00] pretty large.

So in my case, I think they changed lately. But in my case, there were. 160 companies, sorry, 360 companies in the batch, so it's a very high number. Some of those companies don't make it to the end of the batch. So again, it's no longer enough to just be a YC back startup, but what really helps, um, again, and one of the things for, for, uh, from the folks in the audience is that we, uh, while we helped, we only got into YC in our third attempt. So by the time we got to YC, we had a way of going about three years into the business, like had to survive very hard times, like all those things that founders in the most successful companies will, will have really experienced. And so by the time I got to YC, we already had seen an inflection point in our business.

So as much as they helped, we were already in a good position. So as a founder, I would not get discouraged if you cannot get into a program like YC. Um, in the [00:14:00] early days, really focus on your customers, focus on kind of getting the business going, because then YC becomes a consequence, not necessarily, um, a way to get started

David: I'm just trying to wrap my head around 160 people in your cohort, 

Matheus: now, 360 companies. Right? So, yeah. So

let's call it. Yeah, it's a big, it's a big

David: that's huge. I mean, originally when I think of Y Combinator and I'm maybe I'm alone in this, but I'm still thinking of it's, you know, 10 of the best of the best. And there's a lot of handholding and, and propping up and pitch deck stuff and this, that, and the other, but 360, I mean, do they even know your name?

I mean, like you're just a number like, wow,

Matheus: they do. They do. I think they do a good job. And I think again, there is some debate. Some people are in favor of that now scaling effect, if you will. Some people don't like, but I really like how I see things, right? Like. They are trying to get [00:15:00] the biggest impact they can have in terms of startups. So they created like, you know, uh, uh, um, very well, wild machine that really helps startups that like, despite the fact that like, you, you have a lot of people, you still get a lot of value. And I'm, uh, and I think, you know, they say openly that they are not here to create, uh, Elite brand, even though you're right that they are an elite brand, but that's not what their main goal. They're not selling exclusivity. They're trying to impact as many startups, which in turn will impact as many people, hopefully positively on the other side.

So they are willing to dilute some of the exclusivity and, uh, to, to accomplish that, and I think they've done again, after TruePoint, they started with 10, 12, 20, like all the way to 300. And I think they scale back a little bit. Right now, but they created a lot of I. P. And processes that allow them to. Um, to do well, so I didn't think that, you know, I was going [00:16:00] even to the remote batch.

I went on a winter of 2021. so I was really after COVID was trying to reopen, but we're still, um, remote even that I think we've got a lot of value because it's you get the. Airbnb founders to come and I can explain their story behind the scenes without the PR, um, version or PR embellishment. So, I mean, I'm, uh, I like to say I'm a very happy customer of YC and really kind of respect what they do.

David: that's very cool.

Gary: I had a question about the current state of tint. Um, how it operates now versus maybe your initial vision for the company. Have you had to pivot or kind of remold or reshape the, the idea or the vision in order to make tint what it is today from its inception?

Matheus: We haven't changed the vision, but we absolutely changed the how, the execution. So our vision [00:17:00] has always been the same, which is we believe that, you know, customers should get the insurance products. from the products and services they use and not buy them as a standalone product. Like nobody cares about insurance. Nobody should care about insurance. But you should have it. Like, it's very important that when bad things happen, you are protected. Otherwise, you know, sometimes it can be your car. It can be an expensive trip. Like, you can be, you can lose thousands of dollars and if you don't have protection. So for an average, let's say, uh, person, like if you have a suddenly 100, 000 loss in your life, that can be catastrophic.

Right? So it is, we believe the insurance is mission critical, but nobody should think about it. We believe it should be a feature. Um, so that vision has always been there, but we started like with a very small part of this kind of end to end journey. And that was enough to get us started, but not enough to get us to scale.

[00:18:00] So then we kind of kept building each of the pieces of the car, if you will, all the way to them, when we had a full car and people could drive it, they were like, Oh my God, that's awesome. But you know, we'd almost try to like, let's build the engine and let's spend three years selling an engine. Like. That didn't work. There were not enough people out there. They're like, yeah, I get the engine, I build the rest of the car myself. So in our case, there was um, uh, AI powered score that we started that was highly powerful, but there was not, there were not enough companies out there that could plug that into the workflows. So then we kept building out the kind all, all the end of, uh, the rest of parts. And today we have an end-to-end product. So if you're a brand and you come to us and like. I don't want to do with anything. And we were like, great, we have everything in house. We will give you the package and you can just offer that to your customers and get, uh, uh, some compensation from, for, for doing that.

Gary: Was it pretty easy, um, starting out as far as. [00:19:00] You knew you had a valuable idea. Did you have any like test companies that kind of helped you along with it? Or what was the, the marketing from getting, you know, from the idea being created to the first, maybe second client and then scaling from there.

Matheus: Yeah, we started with our network. So again, one of the hard lessons I learned as a founder. I tried to create a company out of business school, um, in the U. S. I'm originally from Brazil, so I moved here for business school and I try to start a business right out of the gate with no connections in the U.S No understanding of the market. And as you can imagine, didn't work, right? So I spent that after that four years of Torro really learning how how world class startup works, developing my relationships, both in terms of potential investors, potential customers and learning a problem that now I end up working on it for many years of Torro So I think by the time we started, we have a very good package of [00:20:00] known connections, knowledge of the market and the customers. And, uh, access to capital. So our first kind of few months was pretty much leveraging that, like our first two customers. Um, were connections that we had from Touro, either from former employees, uh, former colleagues that know, end up going to other companies, uh, like the person from Outdoorsy, uh, which was in our first large customer.

He was a contact from Touro who went to Outdoorsy. And then he, we had some, um, relationship. We did a, a pilot. He worked very well. So then we implemented that, um, in the company. And we were in the B2B side, so the caveat I'll make here is like, if we're in the B2C, it's a little bit different. You can't just get customers out of advertising or other, other things viral.

But as a B2B, it's really like, they need to trust you. They need to know you. While at some point they trust the company, but in the early days, they trust the person, right? [00:21:00] That who's, who's starting this company. So I'd say that's kind of how we got the first. Few customers and from there, like in a special after YC, you start getting more, they start trusting the company more.

And then as a founder, you should, in a way, step back and let the trust on the brand to be stronger, the trust on you. But in the early days, there's mission critical.

Gary: So you're able to tap into the YQC network, not just for funds, but also for connections for clients.

Matheus: Yeah. They're over,

I think the number is 3000 startups in the YC network. So for selling to startups is a very good reason to be part of YC. And I think we

got three or four customers. During our enlarged deal, as I mentioned, it was a YC company guest. He was a YC company. I know I think we've got a couple more, more right.

And like while we're in the batch. So it was like very useful and continue to be useful to this day.

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Gary: Was there any point in the journey where you either stumbled or thought you couldn't go any further? Any, any kind of hurdles you had to get through?

Matheus: Um, yeah, absolutely. And it happens in every single founder journey. Right. And in going back to where I see what I like, one of the things I like the most is to hearing from very successful founders. Their own pitfalls, because as you look at those very true by Airbnb stripes door, uh, door dashes. And, you know, like, you just think that they, yeah, of course life was always easy for them.

And that's why they were so successful. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Like every single startup goes through hard times for us. [00:23:00] I would say the hardest time was around 2019. So, uh, my daughter was about to be born and just be like, and I had to take a two and a half month paternity leave. Uh, and we had, like, what, at the time, 4 or 5 months on the bank. So, as you can imagine, I was like, okay, there's a big, big chance that we're going out of business by the time I'm back. And I was the only business person in the company at the time, so I was doing everything that is not writing code. Um, somehow we managed to survive, and then our largest customers renewed their contract, pay us 3 years up front, so it was, like, very I'll tell you lucky and we did a good job kind of going through that, but there was a moment that, you know, as a founder, you definitely see the end and you can, it's relatively easy to give up and just let go. Luckily we didn't. Um, but yeah, I think, you know, one thing for founders is like, this is always going to [00:24:00] happen. It's always going to be hard. It's just changes how, uh, why it's hard. Right. First is because you don't have the money. Then later it's your point. You may commit to your customer. That is very exciting, but. You just don't have the resource or is bigger than you can handle. They're always going to be problems. And that's part of the founder's kind of job to get used to this and kind of operate well in this environment.

Gary: Yeah, that's crazy. So you were stuck between a new daughter and a new business and you had to take care of both and hopefully in 

Matheus: and my wife and again, I, I, uh, that's why I agree like she, I mean, our, our, our agreement as a, as a couple, she's also founder. She's also a very, you know, ambitious person. And her point was like, you're going to take the same. Days are the same extension of the leave that I will. Because why should I take more than you? And I think it's extremely fair. It's just that the timing couldn't be worse on my side. Uh, so I really, really had [00:25:00] to kind of balance the two things, but, you know, maybe in between I cheated a little bit in between some naps and bottles, I could go check my emails and. Schedule like some some important conversation, but for the most part I done my my two and a half months I mean you have a great relationship with my daughter and don't regret doing so

David: That's two and a half months. It's like, Whoa.

Matheus: Yeah, but you think about woman take a lot longer than that in many cases, right? There are countries like in Europe that the parents will

take six months. I mean, I'm not suggesting that is good either So don't get me wrong, but I'm just saying they're like, yeah, it is fair that now if there's You know, a long period that you need to bond with the child, like the parents split equally because that will also influence how they handle the kid and how they split the time after as well. And in our case, we didn't have [00:26:00] her take a disproportional role on that.

David: It is so interesting to me how different countries view time off for lack of a better term, whether it's paternity or maternity or, uh, Americans by and large. Do not take vacation.

Gary: Yeah, if your wife had the baby at 11. 30, then you need to be back at work by 1. 30.

David: but I mean, most of the time, like I remember when I had my first kid, my company was very upfront, there is no paternity. Of course, now my kid's 18 years old, so it's a lot different now than it was back then. But there was no paternity leave. That was a concept of what, what's wrong with you? What you're not having a baby.

What's wrong with you? And so the only thing, my only option was I had to save up vacation. That was it. And he was born in January. So I was able to roll over a week and I got a little extra, but that was, [00:27:00] I, I had a plan for that and it was same for my daughter, um, a few years later, but it's, we, one of our clients is over in, uh, Belgium and, um, our contact over there, they have both us and Belgium people.

And we joke that he vacations like a professional, like it's minimum six weeks. And their holiday schedule is intense. It's like the country holiday schedule is intense as well. So he is often gone for two weeks at a time. Maybe I think as long as, as a month. Uh, it's just like, wow, it's just different.

It's just a different world. And it's foreign. Like my guys, we actually had to put a policy in this year to mandate that they take two weeks of vacation. Like it was mandated. You can't not take it. You have to take this because you work hard. You do a lot of stuff, take off the time and. There was some pushback, strangely enough, uh, not a lot, not a lot, but [00:28:00] so

Matheus: but, but I think, you know, it makes sense, right? If you think about, um, I think again, and it's, it can get philosophical, can get political, can, but. But the reality is like, yeah, there's some countries and cultures where people work, like they value work differently. And if you think about, you know, get, want to get the extreme example of that, look at China where people actually work seven days a week.

There is no, even a concept of holiday weekends for the most part. Um, so wow. Some may not like it may not think it's healthy or productive or whatever. I think China has increased a lot. It's kind of standard living in the last 20 years or so, uh, partially because how hard they work in Europe, on the other hand, is on the opposite trajectory.

So again, it is a much bigger problem than that and much more factors. But I mean, I tend to, I mean, I'm from originally from [00:29:00] Brazil. I tend to Um, like the American model best, and we think he delivers better results and everything else being, um, everything else being considered. So I think, again, in my case was, um, that one time, and I think it was important for the family reasons, but. Again, as a founder, we all know, like, there's no vacation because even when you take a vacation and you're off, like, your head's probably not off. You're still thinking about work, you still think about the next step, so that's the blessing and the curse of being a founder, is that, like, it doesn't matter if your calendar stays out of office or not, you're still at work.

And I love that, personally.

David: I'm going to change gears a little bit because you said something earlier is kind of out of left field, but you were talking about, Hey, you know, there's always something for the founder to work on. There's always some stress, you know, starts out one stress as you grow. It's not like you have some customers, you have some money, but there are new [00:30:00] stresses that come and they don't.

Do you think? That there is ever a stage in your company that you will no longer feel that. And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Matheus: Um, I do not think it's possible for this to go away ever. It doesn't matter how successful and big you are and what is your team. Um, and then the second question is, is a good thing, a bad thing. Personally, I think is a good thing because it means you're doing nice things. You're growing. And like, I think if you get to a place where it is dull, it means that the company is not really doing much.

So let's get an example, Facebook or Meta now, right? pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg at the moment is not very comfortable with whatever is happening there, right? Like, their core business is not growing. It's actually declining. They changed their name to Meta to go after the Metaverse, which is kind of not going to work. Most likely they spent billions of dollars in the process. [00:31:00] So they're trying to figure out the AI piece, but they're not the front runner on this. So think about if he's a billionaire dude that could just hang out, retire and don't have any problems, like if he decides to do that, then yes, he can't get peace of mind. But as long as he's running Facebook and being the main person on the show, he's having to deal with all those problems of like, you know, came out of, so think about Elon Musk, the same, right? Like He is very successful, but he's always this next thing, always the next rocket that explode or like things like that. So, yeah, I think the answer is no, you cannot get away from that.

Gary: Wow. No, one's brought up meta in a long time. We, when they started the metaverse thing, we would talk 

Matheus: But, but that's a problem, right? Why is that? And do you think they're happy? Do you think

they're working hard trying to figure that out?

David: It's, it's so funny. I I've said this stat before, but I heard months ago at this point that [00:32:00] as an example, tick tock in, I think 2022, something like that. They made somewhere now, this is what now it's China. So they, they hide stuff, but publicly, they said that they made 10 billion off of, you know, and, and they have the zeitgeist still to this day, uh, you know, year over year later, they have the zeitgeist of, if you're talking about social media, they're still it.

TikTok is it, but Instagram reels. Which no one speaks of ever because no one cares. They made 10 billion as well. And the fact, I mean, one thing that Metta has done so well. Better than anybody I think is they know how to make money off of social media and no one else does I mean, I understand. Yes, the metaverse was an absolute disaster and maybe in 20 years We'll look back and say it was ahead of its time fine fair.

I'll give you that the technology

Gary: did, they took reels that [00:33:00] nobody liked in the first place and they kind of force fed it to their customers and then they integrated into Facebook as well. So now the one, that same reel. Is seen exponentially more than just one person in one social media app, which is what drives their advertising dollars up so much.

David: That's fair, but they do have separate, it has its own P and L for lack of a better term. Right? That 10 billion is Instagram reels. It's not Facebook blue, which is what they call their core. You know, they have their own thing. So Facebook has got their own money. Obviously it's way, way higher that month.

That thing just prints cash. But it is interesting to me. I mean, they're going back to what we were saying before you're right. Mark Zuckerberg is always going to feel some stress, just like. Sasha Nadella and, uh, poor, um, Oh, now I'm, he's slipping my mind. Uh, Google's guy, he's getting just reamed. Um, and, Oh, is he a horrible CEO?

I saw the big old Reddit [00:34:00] thing about how he's a useless CEO. I'm like. Send up a chat. There we go. I got it. It came to my head finally. Um, I'm like, come on, really? This guy's one of the most successful companies in the world. Let's breathe a bit, right? He's not horrible. There's probably 10 people in the world who can do what he's doing, but that stress never goes away.

But it does change, right? The survival mode goes away. 

Matheus: Yeah, 

David: You can take a vacation, right? Like Mark Zuckerberg notoriously disappears for months at a time and learning Mandarin or jujitsu or whatever he's doing.

Gary: Hydro foil

David: So it, it just does. It changes. It does. And it's, and I think that's a big deal because that survival mode is really, that's really hard.

I don't know if it's, is it, is it harder than what they're dealing with now? I don't know.

Matheus: But I think, but I agree, but the, I think one of the lessons to me personally, um, last, last [00:35:00] year is that survival is not guaranteed regardless of your stage or think about. Silicon Valley Bank fiasco. Think about we work going to bankruptcy.

Um, then in our world, there's like Convoy, which is a company raised like now through 200 plus millions of dollars that like vanished overnight.

Like even if you are a large, what I used to think when I was starting my company, it's your point. It's like, by the time I get to series A, all my problems are solved. I'll have money. And then it's just a matter of like, it's less hard because it's about replicating. But the reality is like business environment can change so much that maybe, you know, even your current situation can become unsustainable, like happened when we work, right? The business made sense, whatever, they didn't have to spend a lot of money to, to, um, pay for the leases and it made sense. Suddenly with the market change, it becomes, goes from a successful company that is worth 49 billion. I think it [00:36:00] was. Um, at some point to a visible business that is bankrupt that is not visible and they are churning hundreds of billions really of dollars.

They have a lot of happy customers. It doesn't matter. Right. So when I look at those cases and say, well, even those companies can fail, it means that success at my stage or like, um, like any startup is far from guaranteed. And I want, when I was going back to your audience, when I was just getting started, I thought that by now we will be in a kind of more secure position.

And it is like, I mean, we are doing super well, or we're lucky. We raise money at the right time, blah, blah, blah. But just you kind of know, there's. Even after YPO, there'll be very important problems and some of them existential to do it.

Gary: Well, speaking of starting up and lessons learned, um, we're going to wrap this up with a question for the entrepreneurs and the startups, [00:37:00] what would you. Give us as your top three pieces of advice for any new entrepreneur or startup.

Matheus: The number one by far is grit. Like, as a founder, the most important factor, in my opinion, is grit. Is just keep going. Because as Vicky, like, relates to what we've been discussing, it's gonna be hard. There's no way around that. And it's gonna be hard to figure out, especially in the early days, the survival pressures and Like a baby, right?

So fragile. Anything can really kind of harm you. Um, so grit Um, and then going back to what we talked about, my, my daughter's kind of story and like, you know, the birth and, um, if we had, like, there was a very easy time to give up and we didn't, and I'm so glad we didn't. And we've been doing this for 6 years and just kind of going through, um, whatever happens. Uh, so grit's the number 1. Um, the number 2 advice I would do is like explore or [00:38:00] think. Very carefully about venture capital, especially in this current environment. Um, some people, especially in early stage tend to think that venture capital is a, um, sign of success. It's almost like a requirement. One, I would argue it's not, um, it was not before.

And especially in this environment, even less. So if you can bootstrap your startup, uh, to a few, you know, thousands of AR, if you are in, in, um, B2B and whatever metrics go into B2C try to do that. Uh, try to kind of do, um, whatever, whatever it takes. And don't think that it. A VC giving you money or VC saying no to you actually has any correlation with your success. And the third one, which, you know, relating relates to the last one, but it's more on the personal side. Is that plan your personal runway. So, especially if you don't rely on external capital, meaning you cannot pay [00:39:00] yourself salary, make sure that by the time you are considering make the, the, the switch or committing to your startup, and it's going to be a 10 year journey, you have your personal finances in order. Because what you don't want is like, you know, six months into the process. You just realize, like, holy crap, I maxed out all my credit cards. I just can't keep going. I need a salary. I need a job. That's going to kill your startup. Doesn't matter how promising it is. Doesn't matter how exciting you are. Um, Its the end of the road.

Your personal finance, your personal runway equals your startup runway. Um, in the early day. So make sure that you know, you have some savings. You, you can figure that out.

Gary: Yeah, that last

one is definitely a good one.

David: We like Gary likes to judge them all. Cause we ask this question every week. So he likes to make fun of people when they just, you know, You say judge and make fun. I say take in and analyze and just really think about it and then

Gary: [00:40:00] convey to the audience if we've heard that before or not, but no, 

Matheus: you heard any of those things I mentioned before?

Gary: for sure. And, but 

Matheus: He agrees for sure. It's the easy 

Gary: everybody should 

Matheus: but it's true. And 

Gary: the personal runway

David: true.

Gary: we've, we've heard a few times, but that is very important.

That is something that definitely

David: I don't know if I remember hearing that one, but Um, the equating venture capital or, you know, to the success of your startup. Uh, that's not something we hear very often, but I do think that's very important not to make it. You know, your success is not beholden to either how much you did or did not get to raise.

Gary: Yeah. And a lot of times David would even say, if, if you have the ability or the access to, you know, forgo investment, then do so that way. Once you start making a profit, when you're successful, you don't already owe, you know, five other companies a certain amount.

David: I've always said that you can always [00:41:00] choose to go for investment. But once you go down that path, you can never go back to lifestyle. So might as well try it, right? There's no harm in it. It might not grow the way you want to, and that's fine. There's a lot of stuff, but it'd be very conscious. I've always disliked the belief that, you know, unicorn is the only thing that matters.

And if you're not going for a billion, then what are you doing? You're wasting it. I don't subscribe to that at all. I think startups come in all shapes and sizes and success looks. A million different ways and it's not all about unicorns. Now, unicorns are cool. Don't get me wrong as neat and they're sexy and, you know, and it makes good news, but people love a good rise.

And also people love a good fall. And I think those you're playing into a certain game that I don't think it's necessary. I think you can do very well. Anyway, I've done that soapbox many times, but

Gary: I just want to leave a note for our editor. Make sure you cut that clip of David saying unicorns are sexy. Thank you.

David: what [00:42:00] unicorns are super sexy. What is wrong with you, man? All right. Well, on that note, that's a good note to end on. Thank you so much for joining us today, man. It's been a lot of fun.

Matheus: Well, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoy our conversation.

Gary: anybody wants to learn more about you or your business, how can they get ahold of you or reach out to you?

Matheus: Uh, the easiest way to, uh, reach out to me personally is LinkedIn. So if you go and search my name, I'm probably the only one out there. So you're easily going to find me. Um, or if you want to learn more about Tint, uh, you can visit www. tint. ai and then somebody from our team will, uh, reach out to you.

Gary: Cool. We will put those links in the show notes as well.

Matheus: you.

David: Awesome. Well, and then again, what, what now it's getting, we're going to stumble to the end. This all gets cleaned up. We all seem way more professional towards the end. Who's talking you or me?

Gary: [00:43:00] I didn't know if you were going to say, okay, thank you. Goodbye. Or I was going to, if you didn't, so I

David: well, I already said thanks to him. So I feel like I did this in a weird order, which I'm sure we'll clear up, but whatever, I'll let you do it since I just jacked it.

very much.

Gary: All right. On that note, then we're out of here and we will see you next week. 

Hi, I'm Christy Pronto, Content Marketing Director here at BigPixel. Thank you for listening to this episode of the BizDev Podcast. We'd love to hear from you. Shoot us an email, hello at thebigpixel. net. The BizDev Podcast is produced and presented by BigPixel. See you next week. Until then, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Threads, YouTube, and LinkedIn.