The Founder's Foyer with Aishwarya: First-time founder lessons, marketplace growth models, fundraising

Ft. John Koelliker, Co-Founder & CEO of Leland. We discuss about new founder-ship, why it's challenging to operate marketplaces, power of coaching, side projects, raising capital from VCs, and more

Hey everyone,

Here’s this week’s update from the The Founder’s Foyer show!

When John Koelliker and I first connected, I was curious about how he conceptualized and kickstarted Leland while he was still at Stanford, and the way he was building a marketplace for folks interesting in picking others' brains (literally!). Being a first-time founder, John definitely leverages his network in a way he could help other founders and builders understand the basics of product-building.

Finding purpose from little projects and talks with your friends is always a fun thing to do. For John, this turned out to be a way of understanding how a marketplace platform for personal coaching is much needed—a side-project set him up for building Leland. As someone who earlier did a 1-on-1 consulting for folks, John realized product-izing his skills was the best way he could reach a wider community and help them with finding the right peers around.


Check out The Founder’s Foyer:

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Watch on YouTube

John and I discuss about:

  • Why entrepreneurship and the steps that led to this path

  • What's the difference between a side hustle and full-time foundership?

  • What John learned from his Stanford days about side projects

  • Finding the initial audience that believes in your mission

  • Building a conviction for others to trust in you

  • What's it like to build a sustainable growth engine for a product?

  • Mistakes: As a room for improvement for first-time founders

  • Product manager to founder: PM lessons that come handy

  • Successfully raising $4M seed funding and tips for new founders

  • Finding the right VCs who support your journey

  • Sharing lessons with fellow founders—a healthy community

Listen to our conversation as a podcast on:

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Listen on Apple Podcasts

Thank you, and keep your suggestions coming! :)

Have a great week ahead,