#19: Selling Your Company: The First Two-Women Co-Founded Startup Out of Y-Combinator, with Jen & Chiara of Bizzy and Kat from Y-Combinator

About the Episode:

In today’s episode, we’re talking to Jen Kessler and Chiara McPhee from Bizzy, an email marketing platform designed for eCommerce business owners, that was recently purchased by SendGrid.

After meeting each other while studying at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Jen and Chiara co-founded the company & eventually got accepted into Y-Combinator’s start-up accelerator program.

After that, they built a small scrappy team out of a WeWork space in downtown San Francisco and focused on growing their customer base until acquisition talks with Sendgrid serendipitously fell into their lap.

We’re also hearing from Kat Mañalac, a partner at Y-Combinator, about what investors look for in founders, and why they chose to back Jen and Chiara.

In Today’s Episode, We Talk About:

[02:02] We start off by finding out what book Jen and Chiara are reading at the moment.
[03:05] An overview of how Bizzy works.
[03:50] Factors that led to the sale of Bizzy to Sendgrid.
[05:05] How they found, reached out, and partnered with Sendgrid.
[07:01] How Bizzy stood out from the thousands of other competing SaaS products in the marketplace.
[08:06] How Jen and Chiara’s differences made them perfect partners.
[08:35] The beginning of their friendship and collaboration.
[10:36] Some piece of advice for those graduating from college and thinking of starting side projects.
[11:32] How these two female co-founders pitched their investors.
[12:59] Their piece of advice to female founders looking to raise funds for a business idea.
[14:36] Another piece of advice on how to validate your side project idea.
[16:09] Their strategy on how to get your first 100 subscribers, leads, and potential customers.
[17:37] The sacrifices they’ve had to make over the past couple of years for their business.
[18:38] The best investment they have made.
[20:01] Their fair share of business ideas that have completely failed.
[21:38] Kat talks about what investors look for in founders.
[22:59] How she met Jen and Chiara.
[25:46] What kind of founders apply to Y-Combinator.
[26:34] The challenges female co-founders, Jen and Chiara, faced at Y-Combinator.
[29:26] The important areas of your business to focus on in order to become an attractive acquisition target.
[31:42] What traits you should look for in a co-founder.
[34:56] Her best piece of advice for those interested in applying to programs like Y-Combinator.
[36:26] What you need to know when you re-apply.


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Resources Mentioned:

A Question Of Intent by David Kessler

Competing Against Luck by Clayton M. Christensen


Female Founder’s Conference


Connect with My Guests:

Chiara on LinkedIn and Twitter

Jen on LinkedIn and Twitter

Kat on LinkedIn and Twitter

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In this episode, we're talking to Jen & Chiara from Bizzy, an email marketing startup that went through Y-Combinator here in the San Francisco Bay Area and recently sold to SendGrid in 2017. We're also hearing from Kat Mañalac, a partner at Y-Combinator about what she looks for in startups they select to join the accelerator...




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