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You just heard from Alexandra Zatarain as she recounts the few dread-filled hours that preceded her father’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Though this fundamentally changed the course of her life, Alexandra dealt with the sudden grief by asking the same question she had always asked: What can I do? This unshakable dedication to problem-solving has led up to her entrepreneurial endeavors as the co-founder of Eight Sleep, creating a temperature-regulated, health monitoring bed. Spearheading the tech industry’s exploration into sleep fitness, Alexandra’s made Forbes’ 30 under 30 and her product has been recognized two years in a row by TIME’s best inventions of the year. But she didn’t always want to be an entrepreneur…in fact, her life began far from Silicon Valley, it began bouncing between San Diego and Tijuana Mexico.
You just heard Zack Honarvar talking about the moment he realized he needed to move on from the stagnant safety of his traditional finance company and forge his own path. Zack is now the founder of the management company One Day Entertainment, which powers the financial side of channels such as Yes Theory, Airrack, and The Cheeky Boyos. Beyond harnessing the power of multi million subscriber channels, Zack is also the co-founder of the influencer merchandise company Fan of a Fan and CEO of Creator Now, which is basically film school reimagined for the digital age. But before LA’s creator scene, Zack was learning business the old fashion way: hustling Lunchables on the playground and operating alone at home from as early as four. And even before he was born, Zack’s life was primed for practicality. Let’s take a look at the story before Zack’s story, one that paved the way for his unique balance of both steady utility and daring imagination. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
You just heard Josh Johnson recalling the moment where his worst nightmare came true: after finally stepping away from his safety net, he found himself jobless with the rug yanked out from under him. Now well known for his performances on Conan and Comedy Central, his tours with Trevor Noah, and a 2020 Emmy nomination, Josh has come a long way from his first script writing experience on the Tonight Show. Although this all seemed like a sudden rise to success there’s a lot of history behind these shining moments. Before late night talk shows and award ceremonies, there were years of non stop working. By night, he would tour the comedy circuits of Chicago and New York. And by day, he worked the early bird shifts at Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s. Believe it or not, his double life of growing comedian and grocery bagger continued well into his career. There was no ‘making it’, no easy way to fame. Instead, he remembered that for every one step forward, there was a chance at falling two steps back. This cautious approach to his career, this consistent humility, can be traced all the way back to his childhood in Louisiana…where love and danger seemed to be the only constants of his surroundings. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Ronan Levy is the founder of Field Trip Health, a rapidly expanding therapy program which combines psychotherapy and psychedelics to address treatment-resistant mental health disorders. His clinics span across Canada, the United States, and Europe, with Levy aiming to establish 75 clinics over the next four years. But to spearhead a mental health movement, Levy had to go through kidnapping, heartbreak, and the cannabis gold rush. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it might be helpful to look back into the edges of Levy’s consciousness and catch a glimpse of who he was before his career…before college…before childhood even… Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
You are about to listen to Michael Tucker talking about how yet another project, a chance at being legitimized in LA’s film industry, failed before it even had a chance to lift off the ground. We’re going to tell you how he got to this point, and past it… eventually creating the popular YouTube channel ‘Lessons From the Screenplay’. Garnering more than 5 million views on his most popular release with a whopping 1.4 million subscribers, Michael’s channel saw a meteoric rise from its launch in 2016. Yet, before he shared his knowledge of film theory and narrative structure with an audience- Michael had to learn his own lessons from the screenplay. From tracking down DVD commentaries of his favorite movies to printing out and studying the shots he was inspired by, Michael turned his childhood curiosity into a serious, personal study of filmmaking. So, let’s rewind a bit…..and see how this passion started with a simple handheld camera. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
You are about to hear from Stu Krieger, writer of some of your favorite Disney childhood classics. From the animated film The Land Before Time to the Disney Channel Originals Cow Belles and Smart House, Stu’s career shaped the childhoods of a generation. But before he was penning the stories that entertained children across the nation, Stu was just another kid entranced by the spell of movie magic. We’ll hear how his early wish to move to California grew into something more, taking him to Los Angeles, to Steven Spielberg’s desk, and on the Walt Disney studio backlots he had dreamt about. We would also like to congratulate Stu on the release of his new novel "RAFT" which is releasing from PipeVine Press some time in the first half of 2023. If you enjoyed the interview and would like to stay up to date on the release, be sure to follow him on Instagram @stukrieger! Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
You are about to listen to Eric and Ali, a couple who have made their living by farming in the unlikeliest of places: Downtown Los Angeles. Now, you may be wondering ‘Is that even possible?’. Looking at the concrete urban sprawl, there’s little green space to begin with let alone enough to raise a sustainable amount of crops on. Yet, despite the lack of water, space, and quality soil…it seems that Eric and Ali have found a way. For this episode, I hopped on my bike to my nearest metro station and took the train to their community plot in Lincoln Heights. There, I sat down with the pair and heard their story. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
This week I talked to Ruth Askren and Phoebe Piper, owners of the beekeeping company Hive Tribe. Hive Tribe has established and maintained 25 active beekeeping sites throughout LA and Ventura county, working with a variety of estates and celebrity clients. But before we sat down to talk, Ruth and Phoebe gave me a taste of their sweet lifestyle by letting me don the beekeeping suit myself. On a warm spring day, I headed down to Malibu and visited the pair at their hillside operation. There, I helped separate bee boxes to check on the different colonies’ health and the progress of their hives. I watched through my mesh helmet as they monitored white wax, checked for pollen, and looked at the honey on the outside of the young hives. Amongst the seaside flowers and scent of salty ocean breeze, I found that there were few better ways to spend the day than beekeeping in Malibu. Yet, before Ruth & Phoebe maintained hives for a living, this was just a hobby for Ruth.  And before that…she didn’t work with bees at all. Her day job was teaching art at a private prep school. But let’s dive into this winding, up   hill journey through SoCal and remember that it is never too late to find wonder in your life. Sometimes a new source of excitement is wedged between the tiles on the roof, waiting to be found. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Mina Le, a former economics major who found her career as a fashion Youtuber in the unlikeliest of times: the pandemic. Stuck inside the house with no place to be, many of us turned to unexpected hobbies to fill our time. There was the sourdough bread craze, where people made DIY yeast starters in their kitchens and posted their golden-baked results on instagram. Others learned a new instrument, crocheted, or binged the entirety of Breaking Bad beneath the covers. Mina Le, on the other hand, started her own YouTube channel. She has been creating detailed videos on fashion history, film theory, and pop culture and during isolation at her parent’s house she amassed a loyal fanbase of nearly one million subscribers. Her most popular video now has 3 million views. However, the road to becoming a fashion influencer, pop culture historian, and skilled video essayist began far from the sphere of social media. Mina’s first experience with fashion started in the home, looking at her mother’s style inspiration board in the closet. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Sareen began his fashion education on the steps of the Taj Mahal, picking up snippets from the people he drove. After finishing a Mechanical Engineering degree, he moved to Canada, but had no idea where to start. So he started at the bottom washing dishes for $2 an hour. Soon after he would be making $1.2M a year but a heart attack would have him realize his true calling... founding a fashion company. Bringing cutting edge engineering to the fashion world, Sareen founded Tukatech, the first in the industry to provide an open and fully automatic Computer-Aided Design system. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Tricia Sugita at one point was one of the top Starcraft players in the world. This led to her getting offers to play professionally, and even an early recruitment to stream on JustinTV which would eventually become Twitch. This ascent to the top of the gaming world started early with competitions between her and her brothers. Her natural competitiveness led her to hone her video game skills until she could easily dominate her much older siblings. Fast forward to her college years and early adulthood, and Tricia became a serious competitive gamer and a pioneer in the now ubiquitous world of streaming, becoming an early twitch partner. Now the CEO of her own esports organization FlyQuest, Tricia strives to imbue positivity, happiness, and sustainability in all she does. UPDATE: Just a heads up, at the time we recorded this episode Tricia was the CEO of Flyquest but in the time since we've talked, she's now working at Cloud9 as their Chief Marketing Officer! On behalf of the FF team, we'd like to extend a big congrats to her. Now let's get on with the episode... Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Originally from Pakistan, Ammar Belal grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. His father ran one of the biggest textile manufacturers in the country, but his parents wanted him to have a global perspective. Cycling through Boston, Geneva, and Lahore throughout his childhood, Ammar always lived an unconventional life. When he finished school he was slated to inherit his father's empire, but 9/11 changed the trajectory of the business completely. He was witnessing a failing company. Ammar diverged from the set path and decided to pursue fashion, starting Bespoke Denim and then ABCD athleisure. He then started the first luxury menswear in Pakistan to great success, expanding to 5 retail outlets throughout the cities and winning national design awards for his work. Still, Ammar found himself unfulfilled and pivoted once again. This time, he found himself at Parsons School of Design as one of 18 applicants accepted to the renowned MFA program. Inspired by sustainable social-impact brands, he started ONE432, a trailblazing company known for its inspiring business model-one that donates 50% of its proceeds to funding female artisans and education in Pakistan. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Don recalled the struggle of keeping family-owned businesses alive under the shadow of multi-million dollar hotel chains. And we wanted to look at this industry, hospitality in particular, to understand one of its unique subcultures. Today we are talking to Don Martine and Cassandra Hazen, founders of California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns–better known as CABBI. This organization ensures these beautiful authentic hospitality experiences can continue to exist and thrive. But before Don & Cassandra built CABBI from the ground up, Don was involved with a different kind of project: remodeling the run-down Parkes Mansion. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Jeremy Le is the co-founder of Ismahawk, a production company and youtube channel with over 100 million views. This channel started years ago when Jeremy was a twenty-something-year-old kid who wanted to dabble in some 3D work. Though initially the dream was modest, as he refined his skills, the opportunities grew and grew. Throughout the years, Jeremy and his team honed their editing skills, creative energies, and channeled them into their carefully-made series involving the comic superheroes they love. But right now, we’re going to look back to where this all started: a school-yard bully and a belief in doing the right thing Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Jen Levy grew up in a family and religious school environment that emphasized the importance of philanthropy. After realizing her twenty-year-long career as a teacher wasn’t quite fulfilling her, she decided to combine her love of education with her passion for farming. She moved to Ohio to learn all about the industry. Then, she moved back home to Beverly Hills where she co-founded Beverly Hills Community Farm in 2020. Over the course of the pandemic, BHCF pivoted toward addressing food insecurity in surrounding communities during the pandemic. They opened their commercial space in Beverly Hills in 2021, where they use vertical hydroponics to grow fresh produce and make it their mission to teach others to grow food locally themselves. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Nina Lu is an 18-year-old actress best known for her role in Disney Channel's hit series Bunk’d. Although she became pretty famous during her heyday, Nina never intended to become an actress. But when she was approached in the mall one day, her interest was piqued. She began taking acting classes, and fairly quickly landed Bunk’d. Since then, she has appeared in various shows and films. Now Nina balances acting work & her TikTok career with her studies at USC. She launched her TikTok in the middle of the pandemic and has already accumulated nearly 3 million followers! Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Having known each other since they were teenagers, Christian, Erika, And Josh began their podcast, The Judgies, as a fun experiment in June of 2020. Since then their podcast has grown exponentially! They’ve found massive success on TikTok with over 40 million views a month and are coming up on 1 million followers. And that growth has translated to the podcast which regularly hits the top charts. Although they’re still working their full-time jobs, they’ve been able to create a dedicated and engaged audience base and it seems like in the near future they might be doing the podcast full time. But let’s take it back and start at the beginning of this creative journey… Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Therese got into beekeeping by randomly attending a beekeeper's seminar, and realized this is kinda weird but also kind cool. Initially, Adam supported the hobby as he watched fearfully out the window... but slowly he learned to help. After a long career in the service industry, 40 year old Adam Novicki decided to drop everything and pursue a career with the bees. He pursued a Masters in plant science and eventually started T&A Farms in 2009. Therese & Adam now sell their honey all over and even started selling grain. Their story shows that it's never too late to turn a passion into a career. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
For decades, myths such as psychedelics “create holes in your brain” or that they remain buried in your system forever have incited fear and opposition from the general public. However, cutting-edge research by scientists like Cole has been slowly deconstructing that narrative, paving the way for psychedelics to enter the mainstream medical scene. Cole Marta is the founder of the California Center for Psychedelic Therapy, a clinic in Southern California that is spearheading the use of drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin to treat advanced mental health disorders. Convinced by the healing benefits of psychedelics, Cole and his team are working hard to figure out how to harness drugs like MDMA to serve those suffering from trauma and mental illness. As we follow Cole’s journey, we’ll grapple with the stigmas surrounding psychedelics and explore the consequences of abusing them versus using them safely. We’ll also dance around the concept of time, within our lives and within psychedelic trips, and try to understand how it expands, contracts, and doubles back on itself. But in order to understand Cole’s work as a psychiatrist, we first need to understand how his views on psychedelics formed. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Imagine: Shark Spray from a Helicopter, underwear costumes, and cheesy effects. While Patrick looks back on Batman (1966) with a laugh, he can’t help but credit it as the start of his love of film. Boasting 355K subscribers and 39 million views to date, Patrick Willems is a video essayist and film critic on YouTube. With videos such as “What if Wes Anderson Directed X-Men?” or “Why do Marvel’s Movies Look Kind of Ugly?”, Patrick has found his share of success and self-fulfillment from infusing a personal splash of creativity into his videos. But his path wasn’t an easy one — he experienced a handful of rejections, setbacks, and difficult self-reflections along the way. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Website: Follow Sam: Follow Finding Founders IG:
Comments (15)



Sep 7th

John G. Maxwell

Thanks to this article I can learn more. Expand my knowledge and abilities.

Aug 8th

Jordan Schuman

Super interesting podcast!

Mar 25th

Natalie Young

this! interesting, new, real interactions.

Mar 25th

Stacey Book


Mar 25th

Jen Bergren

Love hearing founder stories, from all different industries and backgrounds

Mar 24th

Hafsah Ansar

Love how we get to hear the career and life trajectory of so many different people. Very inspiring!

Mar 24th

Gnilaeh Stowers


Mar 24th

Nevaeh Stowers

I liked episode #105 10/10

Mar 24th

nameeta shinghwani

Very inspiring podcast

Mar 24th

Felicia Enuha


Mar 23rd

Samuel Donner

Weve launched a new and improved newsletter! It will offer actionable advice from the lives of our founders alongside other exclusive content! Click here to subscribe —> Excited to see ya there 🙌🏻

Oct 4th

Samuel Donner

Hello hello! We just released a mini episode about how a life extension tech could only be in the hands of billionaires and what steps we might take to stop that future and make sure everyone has access. It kind of reminds me of that movie In Time with Justin Timberlake. Solid movie. Definitely check it out. Anyways the founder of thinks that a decentralized business can ensure life extension technology isn’t just for the super rich. Do you think that’s enough to democratize health?

Apr 5th

Samuel Donner

Hey! 👋 It’s Sam the host of Finding Founders! Welcome to all the new people coming in and super excited to have you. We have some exciting episodes coming up with our drug dealer series over the next few weeks and I can’t wait to hear what you think of them! If you have any questions or just like the podcast leave a comment! I’ll reply to every one and answer all your questions!

Mar 30th

Tim Connors

Kong’s episode was so amazing😍 thanks sam for making this stuff, i feel hella inspired 💪🏻

May 15th
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