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Spotlight Series: Andrew Marshak, Co-founder of Headlamp Health

October 18, 2023
Written By
October 18, 2023
Spotlight Series 2
16:47
Written By

The {Closed} Session Spotlight Series showcases a different co-founder from the super{set} portfolio every episode. Up now: Andrew Marshak is Co-founder and Head of Product at Headlamp Health (Headlamp.com), a healthtech company bringing greater precision to mental health care.

From multiple stints in the early-stage trenches to co-founding Headlamp Health, Andrew Marshak's journey is marked by serious startup scar tissue. He's deeply driven by Headlamp Health's mission: transforming mental health care through precision psychiatry and data. At super{set}, Andrew sheds light on the unique freedom he's been given, underscoring what it truly means to be a "co-founder for real." Dive in to hear his compelling story.

Headlamp makes it easy for clinicians and their patients to access their universal medical records, while also providing advanced AI tools to support more personalized health insights and decision-making.

Lean more about Headlamp Health at Headlamp.com: https://www.headlamp.com/

Find Andrew Marshak on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-marshak/

Transcript

Welcome to the closed session! How to get paid in SiliconValley with your host, Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya.

Vivek: Boy, so thatwas fun with Gal, wasn't it, Tom?

Tom: I, I, that wasawesome.

Vivek: So continuingin that tradition and, uh, part two of our spotlight series for this episode,we have another Superset, co-founder, Andrew Marshak, with us. Welcome, Andrew.

Andrew: Yeah. Hey,thanks for having me.

Vivek: Yeah. So tellus a bit more about your story. How did you come to be at Superset and, uh,your, your whole journey?

Andrew: Yeah, youknow, I'm a, I'm a startup guy. And when I say I'm a startup guy, that doesn'tmean I worked at Google, which is a late stage startup. I mean, I was employeenumber six, and then I was employee number five. And. I wanted to keep movingup the chain, and this was a unique opportunity to be employee number one.

Tom: Nice.

Andrew: I've alwaysbeen in the healthcare Space, uh, specifically working in software as well asgenomics and diagnostics.

Vivek: Great. So tellus a bit more about what our company, Headlamp Health, does.

Andrew: Yeah. So,Headlamp is a precision psychiatry data platform. What does that mean? When wethink about mental health and psychiatry, one in five Americans has eitherdepression or anxiety or a combination of the two. And our strong hypothesis isthat those people don't all have the same thing. And our goal is to understandwith data, what are the different types of depression? What are the differenttypes of anxiety? And uh, really enable us to treat it more precisely.

Tom: I love thispremise and it's glistened for all of us for some time, but Vivek and Iespecially where we look at Headlamp and it reminds us of a place we've beenbefore. So in a prior build out, there was this company called Crux and in thatcontext, we were helping brands like L'Oreal and Ticketmaster, changed theconversation. Instead of going after women between the ages of 18 to 45, no,no, no, I want to meet, I want to target women over the age of 40 with threekids on the Eastern Seaboard who buy cream cheese for cooking and not forbagels, right? And so we actually brought that level of precision there too, tothat undertaking. We spent some time in the early paces over here at Headlamp.I remember Vivek and I were like, it can't be the same, it's got to be adifferent thing. And then we kind of, with your help, realized, oh no, it's thesame playbook, it's the same structure of the problem, right? And what'sinspiring is, instead of just as with mental health where people saydepression. Well. No, I mean, that's, that's, that's much too broad. If we can,through data, transform that to an undertaking wherein you're actuallytreating, you know, DMN positive locus three defeatism, right? Totally. That'sexciting. That's inspiring. A lot of work to be done, but it feels at its corelike a data management problem to us.

Andrew: Yeah and youknow, there's precedents for this, right, in Healthcare, where Oncology, 30years ago, you used to have people get diagnosed with breast cancer and theyget treated with broad based chemo, blunt tools, right? And you fast forward totoday, no one gets breast cancer anymore. You get diagnosed with a type ofbreast cancer and you get specific treatments designed for those subtypes. Andwhen, when we talk about what we're doing in psychiatry, It's largely the same,but then people say, wait, wait, wait, there's no tumor in psychiatry, right?There's no tumor in mental health conditions, right? It's a data managementissue, it's a data play, it's not a biology play that much. So that's where Ithink, you know, you guys bring the talent to the table on the data side and,you know, world's our oyster here.

Tom: Well, and, andwe learn a ton from you every day about the dynamics of this industry. It is,this is an, also an interesting opportunity for us because, you know, unlike,for example, with Gal, okay, we've been at Checksum and we see this problem, wedeal with this problem every day. Headlamp is a much more, it's a differentkind of leap certainly for, for me and Vivek. There is an interesting precedentalso in the space, right? Sometimes people say, well, you know, how much healthexperience do you have? Or in our business, how much, you know, go-to-marketexperience do you have and such and such? Well, sometimes decades ofexperiences, decades of bad habits...

Andrew: Totally.

Tom: Right? So it'scool for us to be able to start to show up with the chocolate, you've got thepeanut butter, let's do something awesome.

Andrew: Yep.

Vivek: So who are thecustomers of Headlamp?

Andrew: Yeah, so Ikind of explained what our vision is, right? and it all starts with the data.How do you get the data? And, you know, one way we could go about it is wecould say, Hey, let's go out there and try to buy different data sets thatexist today and put them together and see what we find. And we're doing that.So don't get me wrong, we're doing that but we're walking in saying that's notgoing to be good enough. We want more shots on goal. And so we actually lookedat the market and said, what are problems that frontline mental healthproviders and patients are facing today, and maybe we can solve for those andbuild a data set and sort of a flywheel mechanism. So we did that, we looked atthat space and what do you know, there are tons of problems you can solve inthat space, right? You know, it starts with a patient walks in the door and I'msure we can all relate to this. You walk in, you're seeing a new doctor andit's pretty much, hey, how can I help you today moment when you walk in? Absolutelyridiculous concept since there's a ton of data out there on you, who you are,etc. That's just not making it to the doctor at that time. So the first part ofour product was aimed to solve that. We connect out to about 80% of EHRs acrossthe US, we organize all of the data about a patient, and then we service itboth for that patient, so they have access to the record, but then also forthat doctor, so that when the patient walks in, they have a good picture of whothat patient is up to that point.

Tom: Well, and I,I've taken to copying your line, Andrew, when I describe Headlamp to otherpeople. If you're getting treated for depression, or regardless, what was yourmood 22 days ago?

Andrew: Right.

Tom: I have no idea.

Andrew: Right.

Tom: Right. But it,the premise here is, it is a knowable fact, it can be recorded and captured inconcert with, what did I eat, how did I sleep? If I play chess and that's akind of a centering calming, did I play chess that day and so on, right? Inconcert with all of the other kinds of pharmacokinetics and biological andgenomic information that could be flown into a single system of intelligencelike the one we're building.

Andrew: Right.

Tom: To make it morepossible for the clinician to develop treatments that are better for thepatient. But how, let's talk a little bit about the longer arc of this and whatdo we do for pharma companies after we've built that data moat?

Andrew: Yeah. Sobefore I get to that,

Tom: Okay

Andrew: real quick,it's not just about the doctor, the patient's in the driver's seat and the waywe think about our value for the patient, any patient with depression, anxiety,they are banging their head against the wall trying to figure out why do I feelthis way?

Tom: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Right? And sothe whole model we have with our product is the more you tell us aboutyourself, the better we can answer why you might be feeling this way and whatyou can do about it, right? And so we really think we've got, we're ontosomething there with the model, the UX model. And if you think about combiningthat sort of soft data along with medical records and some other data thatwe're capturing as well. Our end game is to work with pharma to do what theydid in Oncology, to ignite a renaissance of partnerships on drug development.

Tom: Well, and sincewe're not, so on our way still to the pharma point, we should note that it'snot just another tracker app, right, thousands of tracker apps in the appstore. This is an experience that is authored and shaped by the clinician tunedto the individual needs of the patient, right?

Andrew: Right.

Tom: My earlierexample, like chess. Well, if chess is something that this patient is a goodmarker of their overall mental health that day, we can author that into thesystem. So the patient is able to create that awareness that you're talkingabout Andrew but there's something really important in it here for the clinic,for the clinicians as well.

Andrew: Yeah. I thinkthe customizability is huge, right? Because all these apps out there today, youknow, make you track your sleep. Well, what if I'm sleeping just fine?

Tom: Right.

Andrew: Right? Idon't actually need to track my sleep. My sleep isn't the problem here. We comeat it and we say, what do you think might be the problem? Let's track thosethings. And that's, that can be authored, like you said, by either the provideror the patient themselves.

Tom: Right. And so inthe longer arc, what's in it for the pharma companies? What, what are theygoing to be doing on Headlamp?

Andrew: Well, youthink about 20% of Americans have one of these conditions that I mentioned.Right now they're not doing a very good job serving this market, you know inthe 90s we had SSRIs. That was the last big leap that this segment really took.And when we look at it today all of those drugs are off patent, Pharma franklyisn't making money off these things anymore. They're looking to replace thosewith new drugs, new compounds, and they can't really find anything, right?Literally, the most promising new compounds are mushrooms.

Tom: Right. Well, itwas instructive for me tagging along. in some of our early conversations withthe pharma companies where you're setting the table and leveraging networks andconnections that you have with those folks. But for me to just listen in and seethe degree to which these pharma companies are flying blind, there's no data.

Andrew: Right.

Tom: There's noclinical data that gives them even the tiniest clue, right, as to how, whichmolecule could exert what kind of effect on the mental states of a patient.

Andrew: And it's,it's not that they're bad at coming up with compounds. It's that they're bad attesting those compounds in right populations, right? So they keep throwing outnew compounds and then trying it in these very diverse patient populations,right? But as we said at the beginning not all depression not all anxiety iscreated equally, right? So if they can understand maybe this compound worksreally well for these types of depressed people and this other compound We haveworks really well with these other depressed people

Vivek: Yeah. Comingback to something you said earlier, Andrew, you were your startup guy, right?And uh, employee number six, and now you're a co-founder. What's the, for ourlisteners, you know, who also might be interested in learning more about whatthat journey looks like. What are some of the differences between when youoperate as employee number six, which is early, and you're a co-founder, whatdoes that look like?

Andrew: Loneliness. Imean, when, when you're going from one or in our case three, um, I think thatthat's a huge advantage here. You're going from that point where you're justtrying to figure it out and you're banging your head against your, against thewall and you don't have as many people to kind of play ping pong with, so tospeak, that's tough. Honestly, once you're at that sort of 6-10 spot. I thinkthat's the sweet spot. That's where the world's your oyster. You have a coreteam where you're running like a family. And yeah, I think that's the keydifference.

Tom: What's thebiggest surprise since, since joining up over here with us at Superset andgetting this company built?

Andrew: Ooh, biggestsurprise, biggest surprise. This might sound a little weird, but. I didn'tthink I'd have as long of a leash as I have, uh, you know, I was, I was worriedthat I...

I was worried I'd sort of get pigeonholed into different routesand, uh, you know, I mean, you guys are wide open to ideas, um, and you'rewilling to take risks and, uh, I appreciate that. I mean, it, it really doesfeel like we're doing this in a garage, but we have more resources and stuffthan we would in a garage.

Vivek: Yeah, we're,you know, I think one of the things that I've been talking about with a lot ofpeople outside, we keep saying we're true co-founders for real, which means,yes, you get a lot of autonomy and, and we were serious about it, right. And soI'm glad to hear you kind of say that. It's, it's, it's gratifying.

Andrew: You know,you're a real co-founder when we still fight.

Vivek: Yeah. Yeah.

Tom: That's right.You got to have the debates and you got to have the struggles, but yeah, no,it's important. And this is the difference between employee number six and theco-founder. If I've said, if there's something going on in the company, there'sno opportunity to externalize it. It's not somebody else's problem. It's yourproblem, right? So you, you bleed and sleep and think and eat and drink thecompany. That's the way it should be. But I'm, you know, we can't, the otherpiece of, of a true co founder for real is like, no, I mean, you got to go, youcan't be helicoptered over, you can't be neener neener to death.

Andrew: Right.

Tom: Just go.

Andrew: I love whatyou just said cause one of my friends asked me recently, what's the work lifebalance like in a early startup? And I said, it's work life integration, man.

Vivek: Yeah,absolutely.

Tom: Well, and Ithink, look, as we close out, that's for listeners, you know, everybody I'vesaid, you know, they've seen the movies and oh my God, everyone, there's aHackathon and people are doing shots at midnight and then suddenly everyone'srich. Nah, it ain't like that. It's a pride swallowing, soul sucking, longjourney with imperfect work life balance, right? So it requires maniacalcommitment and obsessive intensity over, over the course of the company. But,oh my goodness, it's so worth it. There's nothing better.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean,you get to be in the driver's seat that's the coolest part. I mean, you get towork passionately on what you like to do. So, you know, do you work a lot? Yes.But you also aren't working because it's...

Tom: See, that's

Andrew: ...your life.

Tom: the thing, it'sreally not when you get to that point and work isn't the right word for it,right, you know, it's a vocation. It's um, it's a...

Vivek: Passion.

Tom: It's a passion.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.

Vivek: Well, I thinkit's a great note to end on for the listeners who are aspiring to beco-founders, check us out. It's a lot of fun. You have a lot of autonomy and,and, uh, and if you're curious about what Headlamp does, go to our website andor reach out. We're happy to talk to you as well. Thanks everyone forlistening. Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks.

Tom: Thanks Andrew!.

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On the heels of boombox.io's $7M seed fundraise led by Forerunner, Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya sit down with boombox co-founders India Lossman and Max Mathieu for a special episode straight from super{summit} 2023 in New Orleans!

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From Chords, to Code, to Chords Again: The Story Behind Boombox.io

super{set} founding general partner Tom Chavez wasn’t always set on a life of engineering and entrepreneurship – music was his first love. For a time, he was determined to make a career out of it. With boombox.io, Tom has combined the best of both worlds into a product that inspires and delights both the engineer and the musician.

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Horizontal Scaling at super{summit}

Vivek gives us the rundown on what the hive is buzzing about after super{summit} 2023: how to 'horizontally scale' yourself.

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Generative AI + Creative Work with Big Technology's Alex Kantrowitz

Alex Kantrowitz, journalist and author of Big Technology, joins Tom and Vivek in the studio to discuss his road to journalism, ad tech, and the business and ethical considerations of generative AI.

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Jamming with Habu’s Matt Kilmartin on Partnership Strategy

Discover how Habu, a trailblazer in data clean room technology, utilizes strategic partnerships with giants like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS to expand its market reach and foster the potential of an emerging category. Learn from CEO Matt Kilmartin's insights on how collaboration is the secret sauce that brings innovation to life.

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MIT Professor Rama Ramakrishnan on How ChatGPT Works

MIT Professor Rama Ramakrishnan joins Vivek on the pod to delve into the evolution of Generative AI and ChatGPT, as well as his own journey as an entrepreneur turned business school professor.

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Pivots and Possibilities

Discover how lessons from law enforcement shape a thriving tech career. Ketch Sr. Business Development Representative Brenda Flores shares a bold career pivot in our latest "Pass the Mic" story.

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The Future of Work and Talent in Tech

Does it matter where you go to college? Should the SAT be abolished? Do you have to have a degree in computer science to work in tech? What are the differences between higher education in the US and in India? Why did Tom and Vivek ban Harvard and Stanford degrees from working at their first company?

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AI Alignment with Brian Christian of 'The Alignment Problem'

What does ‘AI alignment mean? Can philosophy help make AI less biased? How does reinforcement learning influence AI's unpredictability? How does AI's ‘frame problem’ affect its ability to understand objects? What role does human feedback play in machine learning and AI fine-tuning?

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Hold Fast: Game-Changing Wisdom from Seamus Blackley

Creator of the XBox and serial entrepreneur Seamus Blackley joined Tom Chavez on stage at the 2023 super{summit} in New Orleans, Louisiana, for a free-ranging conversation covering the intersection of creativity and technology, recovering back from setbacks to reach new heights, and a pragmatic reflection on the role of fear and regret in entrepreneurship.

read more

An Intro to Product-Led Growth from MarkovML

Want to grow your product organically? This blog post breaks down understanding costs, setting up starter plans, and pricing premium features using MarkovML as an example. Learn how to engage new users and encourage upgrades, enhancing user experience and fueling growth through actionable insights.

read more

Building Tech on a Moving Regulatory Target

In an interview with Ketch co-founder Max Anderson, the focus is on data privacy laws and AI's role. Anderson discusses the global privacy landscape, highlighting Ketch's approach to helping businesses navigate regulations. The conversation also emphasizes data dignity and Ketch's unique role in the AI revolution.

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AI Hot Takes: Deepfakes, The Big Stakes, and What to Make

Is AI our salvation or is it going to kill us all? Tom and Vivek roam widely on others’ takes about artificial intelligence, adding their insight and experience to the mix. Along the way they consider Descartes, Ray Kurzweil, Salt Bae, Marc Andreessen among others. If you are looking for a down to earth conversation that tempers the extremes at either end of the debate, this is the one you’ve been waiting for.

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Lessons from the Startup Circus

super{set} Technical Lead and resident front-end engineering expert Sagar Jhobalia recaps lessons from participating in multiple product and team build-outs in our startup studio. Based on a decade of experience, Sagar emphasizes the importance of assembling the right engineering team, setting expectations, and strategically planning MVPs for early wins in the fast-paced startup environment.

read more

Navigating the Startup Journey from Launch to Finish Line

Are you a launcher, or a finisher? The balance of conviction, a guiding vision, and the right team to execute it all make the difference between entrepreneurial success and failure. Tom Chavez delves into his journey as a first-time CEO and the invaluable guidance he received from a key mentor.

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Understanding The AI “Alignment Problem”

Vivek Vaidya recaps his conversation with AI researcher and author of "The Alignment Problem" Brian Christian at the 2023 super{summit}.

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High-Velocity Personal Growth

What's the price you put on personal growth? In his most recent note to founders, super{set} Founding General Partner Vivek Vaidya outlines 7 points of advice for startup interviews and negotiations. Vivek explains his compensation philosophy and the balance between cash and the investment in personal and career growth a startup can bring. Here’s the mindset you need to reach your zenith at a startup.

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Harvard Computer Scientist James Mickens on The Ethical Tech Project

Are we walking a tightrope with AI, jeopardizing humanity's ethical core? Is AI more than just algorithms, acting as a mirror to our moral values? And when machine learning grapples with ethical dilemmas, who ultimately bears the responsibility? Harvard's Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, James Mickens, joins Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya on "The {Closed} Session."

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How Boombox Nurtures Customer Collaboration for Success

In a conversation with boombox's co-founder India Lossman, the discussion pivots to the art of fostering customer collaboration in music creation. Lossman unveils how artist-driven feedback shapes boombox's innovative platform, with a glimpse into AI's empowering potential. Understand the synergy between technology and user insights as they redefine the independent music landscape.

read more

ActiveFence Acquires super{set} Company Spectrum Labs

ActiveFence, the leading technology solution for Trust and Safety intelligence, management and content moderation, today announced its successful acquisition of Spectrum Labs, a pioneer in text-based Contextual AI Content Moderation.

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How Engineers Should Talk to Customers with Empathy

Do you get an uneasy feeling anytime you get added to a customer call? Do you ever struggle to respond to a frustrated customer? Peter Wang, Product lead at Ketch, discusses how customer feedback can help drive product development, and how engineers can use customer insights to create better products. Learn best practices for collecting and interpreting customer feedback.

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Tech Crunch: Answering AI’s biggest questions requires an interdisciplinary approach

Tom Chavez, writing in TechCrunch, calls for new approaches to the problems of Ethical AI: "We have to build a more responsible future where companies are trusted stewards of people’s data and where AI-driven innovation is synonymous with good. In the past, legal teams carried the water on issues like privacy, but the brightest among them recognize they can’t solve problems of ethical data use in the age of AI by themselves."

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Spectrum Co-founders Launch Nurdle AI

Justin Davis and Josh Newman, Co-founders of Spectrum Labs (acquired) launch Nurdle to get AI into production faster, cheaper & easier.

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Spotlight Series: Gal Vered, Co-founder of Checksum.ai

The {Closed} Session Spotlight Series showcases a different co-founder from the super{set} portfolio every episode. Up first: Gal Vered is co-founder and Head of Product at Checksum (checksum.ai), end to end test automation leveraging AI to test every corner of your app.

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The Product Mindset for Engineers

Ever find yourself scratching your head about product management decisions? Join India Lossman, co-founder of boombox.io, as she unpacks the product mindset for engineers. Unravel the art of synergy between PMs and engineers and delve into strategies to enhance collaboration and craft products that users will adore.

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Why Headlamp Health is Bringing Precision to Mental Health

Co-founder of Headlamp Health, Andrew Marshak, describes the frustratingly ambiguous state of mental health diagnoses - and the path forward for making mental health a precision science.

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Marketing in the Age of AI with Rex Briggs

How is AI steering the future of marketing strategy? With the convergence of AI and marketing tactics, Rex Briggs paints a compelling picture of what's possible: AI agents that revolutionize user interactions, and generative techniques that craft persuasive content. Drawing from his deep expertise in marketing measurement, Rex joins Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya to explore the cutting-edge of AI-driven marketing strategies. Listen for insights on harnessing AI's potential in modern marketing.

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Tom Chavez in Huffpost Personal for Hispanic Heritage Month

Writing in the Huffington Post: "My Mom Sent Me And My 4 Siblings To Harvard. Here's The 1 Thing I Tell People About Success."

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Developer tools that are worth their while: KEDA and Boundary in action

Running cloud platforms efficiently while keeping them secure can be challenging. In this blog post, learn how two of super{set}’s portfolio companies, MarkovML and Kapstan, are leveraging tools like KEDA for event-driven scale and Boundary for access management to remove friction for developers. Get insights into real-world use cases about optimizing resource usage and security without compromising productivity.

read more

Watch: Sandeep Bhandari Fireside Chat

Sandeep Bhandari, Former Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Risk Officer at buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Affirm, joins Vivek Vaidya, Founding General Partner of super{set}, in conversation.

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Spotlight Series: Andrew Marshak, Co-founder of Headlamp Health

The {Closed} Session Spotlight Series showcases a different co-founder from the super{set} portfolio every episode. Up now: Andrew Marshak is Co-founder and Head of Product at Headlamp Health (Headlamp.com), a healthtech company bringing greater precision to mental health care.

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Philosophy, Data, and AI Ethics with NYT Best-selling Author + Data Scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

From unpacking Google search patterns to understanding the philosophical underpinnings of big data, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers a unique lens. As the NYT Best-selling author of “Everybody Lies” and a renowned data scientist, he delves into the ways data mirrors societal nuances and the vast implications for tech and its intertwining with everyday life.

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Forbes: 5 Startup Studio Misconceptions

It's still early for the startup studio asset class - and we hear misconceptions about the studio model every day, ranging from the basic confusion of accelerators versus studios to downright incorrect assumptions on our deep commitment to the build-out of every company. Read Tom Chavez' latest in Forbes.

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Ringside Tales from Serial Startup Champion Omar Tawakol

Like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, the fiercest competitors can sometimes become friends. Omar Tawakol is a prime example. As the founder and CEO of BlueKai, he went head-to-head with Tom, Vivek, and the 'Krux mafia' for dominance in the Data Management Platform arena. A serial entrepreneur with roots in New York and Egypt, Omar eventually steered BlueKai to a successful acquisition by Oracle before creating Voicea, which Cisco acquired. Today, he's pioneering a new venture called Rembrand (rembrand.com), which innovates in product placement through generative fusion AI.

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Spotlight Series: Lindsey Meyl, Co-founder of RevAmp

The {Closed} Session Spotlight Series showcases a different co-founder from the super{set} portfolio in every episode. Today's guest is Lindsey Meyl, Co-founder at RevAmp (rev-amp.ai), a "Datadog for RevOps" platform that offers observability across the revenue engine, monitoring performance, flagging when something is amiss, and determining the root cause of how to fix it.

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Why Proprietary Data Is the Linchpin of AI Disruption

Read Vivek Vaidya's latest in CDO Magazine and learn why in this new AI landscape, those who harness the potential of proprietary data and foster a culture of collaboration will lead the way—those who don't risk obsolescence.

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MedCity News: It’s Time for the Tech Revolution to Come to Mental Health Diagnoses

Headlamp Health co-founder Andrew Marshak writes in the MedCity News that "We need to take inspiration from the progress in oncology over the last few decades and challenge ourselves to adapt its successful playbook to mental illness. It’s time for precision psychiatry."

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What Consumers Think of AI and Their Privacy

Everyone’s talking about AI - so The Ethical Tech Project decided to listen. Joining forces with programmatic privacy and data+AI governance platform Ketch, The Ethical Tech Project surveyed a representative sample of 2,500 U.S. consumers and asked them about AI, the companies leveraging AI, and their sentiment and expectations around AI and privacy. On the latest episode of The {Closed} Session, get an inside look at the survey results in a deep-dive conversation with the team at The Ethical Tech Project.

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Why the AI Revolution Will Be Data-Centric

Pankaj Rajan, co-founder of MarkovML, joins super{set} Chief Commercial Officer Jon Suarez-Davis (jsd) to discuss the role of data in gaining a competitive advantage in the AI revolution. Learn the difference between optimizing models and optimizing data in machine learning applications, and why effective collaboration will make or break the next-gen AI applications being created in businesses.

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7 Ways to Turn an Internship Into a Job at a Startup

Chris Fellowes, super{set} interned turned full time employee at super{set} portfolio company Kapstan, gives his 7 recommendations for how to turn an internship into a job at a startup.

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Good Ideas, Good Luck

Coming up with new company ideas is easy: we take the day off, go to the park, and let the thoughts arrive like butterflies. Maybe we grab a coconut from that guy for a little buzz. While this describes a pleasant day in San Francisco, it couldn’t be further from the truth of what we do at super{set}. If only we could pull great ideas out of thin air. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.

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Lessons from the Startup Circus

super{set} Technical Lead and resident front-end engineering expert Sagar Jhobalia recaps lessons from participating in multiple product and team build-outs in our startup studio. Based on a decade of experience, Sagar emphasizes the importance of assembling the right engineering team, setting expectations, and strategically planning MVPs for early wins in the fast-paced startup environment.

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Too Dumb to Quit

The decision to start a company – or to join an early stage one – is an act of the gut. On good days, I see it as a quasi-spiritual commitment. On bad days, I see it as sheer irrationality. Whichever it is, you’ll be happier if you acknowledge and calmly accept the lunacy of it all...

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From Watsonville To The Moon

This post was written by Habu software engineer, Martín Vargas-Vega, as part of our new #PassTheMic series.

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super{set}’s Spectrum Detoxifies The Online Space

We are living in a time of extraordinary concern about the negative consequences of online platforms and social media. We worry about the damage interactive technologies cause to society; about the impact to our mental health; and about the way that these platforms and their practices play to our most destructive impulses. Too often, the experiences we have online serve only to polarize, divide, and amplify the worst of human nature.

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Developer tools that are worth their while: KEDA and Boundary in action

Running cloud platforms efficiently while keeping them secure can be challenging. In this blog post, learn how two of super{set}’s portfolio companies, MarkovML and Kapstan, are leveraging tools like KEDA for event-driven scale and Boundary for access management to remove friction for developers. Get insights into real-world use cases about optimizing resource usage and security without compromising productivity.

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Infrastructure Headaches - Where’s the Tylenol?

Head of Infrastructure at Ketch, and Kapstan Advisor, Anton Winter explains a few of the infrastructure and DevOps headaches he encounters every day.

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Why Proprietary Data Is the Linchpin of AI Disruption

Read Vivek Vaidya's latest in CDO Magazine and learn why in this new AI landscape, those who harness the potential of proprietary data and foster a culture of collaboration will lead the way—those who don't risk obsolescence.

read more

Founder and Father: A Balancing Act

Making It Work With Young Kids & Young Companies

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Why I Left Google To Co-found with super{set}

Gal Vered of Checksum explains his rationale for leaving Google to co-found a super{set} company.

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Pivots and Possibilities

Discover how lessons from law enforcement shape a thriving tech career. Ketch Sr. Business Development Representative Brenda Flores shares a bold career pivot in our latest "Pass the Mic" story.

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Forbes: Why The Biden-Xi Talks Should Put A Microscope On San Francisco

The prettifying and securing of downtown San Francisco, where super{set} is headquartered, should be the norm - not just for special state visits from the world's dictators. Here are 3 things the city of San Francisco should be doing all year round to make the city better to live, work, and invest in. Read Tom Chavez' latest in Forbes.

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super{set} Moves to New Global HQ in Downtown San Francisco

Read coverage in the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle of super{set}'s recent move to the flagship 140 New Montgomery building in downtown SF, next to SFMOMA.

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ActiveFence Acquires super{set} Company Spectrum Labs

ActiveFence, the leading technology solution for Trust and Safety intelligence, management and content moderation, today announced its successful acquisition of Spectrum Labs, a pioneer in text-based Contextual AI Content Moderation.

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Building Fast, Scaling Globally

Harshil Vyas joined the super{set} Hive (i.e., portfolio companies community) in March 2023 as Co-Founder of Kapstan and employee number one in India. We jumped on a Zoom recently to talk about accelerated timelines, globally distributed workforces, and what is unique about the super{set} model.

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boombox.io Raises $7M to Build Out Creator Platform for Music Makers

super{set} startup studio portfolio company’s seed funding round was led by Forerunner Ventures with participation from Ulu Ventures Raise will enable boombox.io to accelerate product development on the way to becoming the winning creator platform for musicians globally

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High-Velocity Personal Growth

What's the price you put on personal growth? In his most recent note to founders, super{set} Founding General Partner Vivek Vaidya outlines 7 points of advice for startup interviews and negotiations. Vivek explains his compensation philosophy and the balance between cash and the investment in personal and career growth a startup can bring. Here’s the mindset you need to reach your zenith at a startup.

read more

An Intro to Product-Led Growth from MarkovML

Want to grow your product organically? This blog post breaks down understanding costs, setting up starter plans, and pricing premium features using MarkovML as an example. Learn how to engage new users and encourage upgrades, enhancing user experience and fueling growth through actionable insights.

read more

Understanding The AI “Alignment Problem”

Vivek Vaidya recaps his conversation with AI researcher and author of "The Alignment Problem" Brian Christian at the 2023 super{summit}.

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The Information: The People OpenAI Should Consider for Its New Board

Tom Chavez writes in The Information that "OpenAI’s board needs a data ethicist, a philosopher of mind, a neuroscientist, a computer scientist with interdisciplinary expertise and a political strategist."

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Tech Crunch: Boutique startup studio super{set} gets another $90 million to co-found data and AI companies

Startup studio super{set} has a fresh exit under its belt with the sale of marketing company Habu to LiveRamp for $200 million in January. Now, super{set} is adding another $90 million to its coffers as it doubles down on its strategy of building enterprise startups.

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Q&A with Accel Founder Arthur Patterson

Arthur Patterson, founder of venture capital firm Accel, sits down for a fireside chat with super{set} founding partner Tom Chavez as part of our biweekly super{set} Community Call. Arthur and Tom cover venture investing, company-building, and even some personal stories from their history together.

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Detecting Software Bugs with AI

Gal Vered is co-founder and Head of Product at Checksum (checksum.ai), an innovative company that provides end-to-end test automation that leverages AI to test every corner of an app. He sat down with Jon Suarez-Davis (jsd) to discuss the exciting problem that Checksum is solving with AI and what Gal likes best about working in super{set}'s startup studio model.

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Diamonds in the Rough

Obsessive intensity. Pack animal nature. Homegrown hero vibes. Unyielding grit. A chip on the shoulder. That's who we look for to join exceptional teams.

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Watch: Sandeep Bhandari Fireside Chat

Sandeep Bhandari, Former Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Risk Officer at buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Affirm, joins Vivek Vaidya, Founding General Partner of super{set}, in conversation.

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Forbes: Why A Collaborative Approach Trumps "Lone Genius" In Company-Building

Off the heels of super{set}'s first exit - the acquisition of data collaboration company Habu by LiveRamp for $200 Million - Tom Chavez writes how the super{set} approach to collaboration in company building leads to successful outcomes.

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Jeremy Klein on Leading super{set}'s Data-Driven $90 Million Fund II

Jeremy Klein is a general partner at super{set}. Jeremy helped build super{set} from day one alongside Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya, designing super{set}’s structure, recruiting co-founders, and laying the plans for a scalable buildout. super{set} recently announced the closing of its $90 million Fund II. He sat down with Jon Suarez-Davis (jsd) to provide insights into the strategic timing and vision behind launching Fund II, his professional journey from a legal expert to an integral part of super{set}'s fabric, and how his unique background and approach have been instrumental in building super{set} and recruiting top-tier co-founders.

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How Boombox Nurtures Customer Collaboration for Success

In a conversation with boombox's co-founder India Lossman, the discussion pivots to the art of fostering customer collaboration in music creation. Lossman unveils how artist-driven feedback shapes boombox's innovative platform, with a glimpse into AI's empowering potential. Understand the synergy between technology and user insights as they redefine the independent music landscape.

read more

Not Just On Veterans Day

This post was written by Ketch Developer Advocate, Ryan Overton, as part of our #PassTheMic series.

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How I Learned to Stop Optimizing and Love the Startup Ride

Reflections after a summer as an engineering intern at super{set}

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super{set} Celebrates First Exit: LiveRamp to Acquire Data Collaboration Software Startup Habu for $200M

LiveRamp Enters Into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Habu, Reinforcing super{set}'s Unique Company Building Model of Founding, Funding, and Scaling Data+AI Businesses

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Overheard @ super{summit}

Vivek Vaidya's takeaways from the inaugural super{summit}

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Why Headlamp Health is Bringing Precision to Mental Health

Co-founder of Headlamp Health, Andrew Marshak, describes the frustratingly ambiguous state of mental health diagnoses - and the path forward for making mental health a precision science.

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From Chords, to Code, to Chords Again: The Story Behind Boombox.io

super{set} founding general partner Tom Chavez wasn’t always set on a life of engineering and entrepreneurship – music was his first love. For a time, he was determined to make a career out of it. With boombox.io, Tom has combined the best of both worlds into a product that inspires and delights both the engineer and the musician.

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When Inference Meets Engineering

Othmane Rifki, Principal Applied Scientist at super{set} company Spectrum Labs, reports from the session he led at super{summit} 2022: "When Inference Meets Engineering." Using super{set} companies as examples, Othmane reveals the 3 ways that data science can benefit from engineering workflows to deliver business value.

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super{set} Fund II: $90 million to intensify our serial focus on data+ai company building

Announcing super{set} Fund II

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Building Tech on a Moving Regulatory Target

In an interview with Ketch co-founder Max Anderson, the focus is on data privacy laws and AI's role. Anderson discusses the global privacy landscape, highlighting Ketch's approach to helping businesses navigate regulations. The conversation also emphasizes data dignity and Ketch's unique role in the AI revolution.

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How To Avoid Observability MELTdown

o11y - What is it? Why is it important? What are the tools you need? More importantly - how can you adopt an observability mindset? Habu Software Architect Siddharth Sharma reports from his session at super{summit} 2022.

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The Information: "TikTok Is Not the Enemy"

Tom writes a nuanced take on the TikTok controversy and outlines ethical data principles that will restore people’s sense of trust and offer them true control over how and when they grant permission for use of their data.

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Redefining Customer Experience in Data-Driven Tech Startups

Ted Flanagan, Chief Customer Officer at super{set}-founded Habu, sat down with Jon Suarez-Davis (jsd) to provide insights into how Habu's strategies in customer experience set it apart in the data collaboration market. Learn how customer experience strategies helped Habu land a $200 million after being acquired by LiveRamp in January 2024.

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Why Head of Product is Our First Co-Founder

At super{set}, we stand side-by-side and pick up the shovel with our co-founders. Our first outside co-founder at a super{set} company is usually a Head of Product. Let’s unpack each portion of that title....

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Hold Fast: Game-Changing Wisdom from Seamus Blackley

Creator of the XBox and serial entrepreneur Seamus Blackley joined Tom Chavez on stage at the 2023 super{summit} in New Orleans, Louisiana, for a free-ranging conversation covering the intersection of creativity and technology, recovering back from setbacks to reach new heights, and a pragmatic reflection on the role of fear and regret in entrepreneurship.

read more

Navigating the Startup Journey from Launch to Finish Line

Are you a launcher, or a finisher? The balance of conviction, a guiding vision, and the right team to execute it all make the difference between entrepreneurial success and failure. Tom Chavez delves into his journey as a first-time CEO and the invaluable guidance he received from a key mentor.

read more

Podcast: Tom Chavez on How AI Startups Can Show Us What’s Next in Marketing

Tom Chavez joins the "Decoding AI for Marketing" podcast published by MMA Global and hosted by well-respected international marketing & AI experts Greg Stuart (CEO, Author, Investor, Speaker) and Rex Briggs (Founder/CEO, Inventor, Author, Speaker).

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The Product Mindset for Engineers

Ever find yourself scratching your head about product management decisions? Join India Lossman, co-founder of boombox.io, as she unpacks the product mindset for engineers. Unravel the art of synergy between PMs and engineers and delve into strategies to enhance collaboration and craft products that users will adore.

read more

The Four Types of Startup Opportunities

In our last post, we discussed how data is the new general-purpose technology and that is why at super{set} we form data-driven companies from scratch. But new technologies are a promise, not a sudden phase change.

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Tech Crunch: Answering AI’s biggest questions requires an interdisciplinary approach

Tom Chavez, writing in TechCrunch, calls for new approaches to the problems of Ethical AI: "We have to build a more responsible future where companies are trusted stewards of people’s data and where AI-driven innovation is synonymous with good. In the past, legal teams carried the water on issues like privacy, but the brightest among them recognize they can’t solve problems of ethical data use in the age of AI by themselves."

read more

Why I'm Co-founding @ super{set}

Pankaj Rajan, co-founder at MarkovML, describes his Big Tech and startup experience and his journey to starting a company at super{set}.

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Four Tips for a Distributed Workforce

This month we pass the mic to Sagar Gaur, Software Engineer at super{set} MLOps company MarkovML, who shares with us his tips for working within a global startup with teams in San Francisco and Bengaluru, India

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The Balancing Act For Women in Tech

This post was written by Ketch Sales Director, Sheridan Rice, as part of our #PassTheMic series.

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Data Eats the World

The wheel. Electricity. The automobile. These are technologies that had a disproportionate impact on the merits of their first practical use-case; but beyond that, because they enabled so much in terms of subsequent innovation, economic historians call them “general-purpose technologies” or GPTs...

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Tom Chavez in Huffpost Personal for Hispanic Heritage Month

Writing in the Huffington Post: "My Mom Sent Me And My 4 Siblings To Harvard. Here's The 1 Thing I Tell People About Success."

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How Engineers Should Talk to Customers with Empathy

Do you get an uneasy feeling anytime you get added to a customer call? Do you ever struggle to respond to a frustrated customer? Peter Wang, Product lead at Ketch, discusses how customer feedback can help drive product development, and how engineers can use customer insights to create better products. Learn best practices for collecting and interpreting customer feedback.

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We don’t critique, we found and build.

The super{set} studio model for early-stage venture It is still early days for the startup studio model. We know this because at super{set} we still get questions from experienced operators and investors. One investor that we’ve known for years recently asked us: “you have a fund — aren’t you just a venture capital firm with a different label?”

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From Suitcases to Startups: Why Immigrants Innovate

How are immigrants like entrepreneurs? Peter Wang of Ketch arrived in the U.S. at age 7 with two suitcases and a box. Read his story in the latest "Pass The Mic."

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CalMatters: Why visa reforms benefit not just California’s tech sector but the economy overall

Vivek Vaidya writes that America needs more H-1B workers. Common sense reforms to the program will even the playing field for startups, not Big Tech, to bring innovative talent to American's shores.

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The Era of Easy $ Is Over

The era of easy money - or at least, easy returns for VCs - is over. Tom Chavez is calling for VCs to show up in-person at August board meetings, get off the sidelines, and start adding real value and hands-on support for founders.

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Forbes: 5 Startup Studio Misconceptions

It's still early for the startup studio asset class - and we hear misconceptions about the studio model every day, ranging from the basic confusion of accelerators versus studios to downright incorrect assumptions on our deep commitment to the build-out of every company. Read Tom Chavez' latest in Forbes.

read more

Spectrum Co-founders Launch Nurdle AI

Justin Davis and Josh Newman, Co-founders of Spectrum Labs (acquired) launch Nurdle to get AI into production faster, cheaper & easier.

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Why CTOs Should Care About Gross Margins, Cost-to-Serve, and Product Management

Why should a tech exec care about profit and loss? Aren’t our jobs to make the product great, and someone else can figure out how to make the numbers add up? That was my attitude for a long time until I finally appreciated the significance of gross margins for SaaS businesses during the early part of my tenure as the CTO of Krux.

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Former Salesforce SVP of Marketing Strategy and Innovation Jon Suarez-Davis “JSD” Appointed Chief Commercial Officer at super{set}

The Move Accelerates the Rapidly Growing Startup Studio’s Mission to Lead the Next Generation of AI and Data-Driven Market Innovation and Success

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The RevOps Bowtie Data Problem

Go-to-market has entered a new operating environment. Enter: RevOps. We dig into the next solution space for super{set}, analyzing the paradigm shift in GTM and the data challenges a new class of company must solve.

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Horizontal Scaling at super{summit}

Vivek gives us the rundown on what the hive is buzzing about after super{summit} 2023: how to 'horizontally scale' yourself.

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The super{set} Entrepreneurial Guild

Has someone looking to make a key hire ever told you that they are after “coachability”? Take a look at the Google ngram for “coachability” — off like a rocket ship since the Dot Com bubble, and it’s not even a real word! Coaching is everywhere in Silicon Valley...

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VCs Write Investment Memos, We Write Solution Memos

When a VC decides to invest in a company, they write up a document called the “Investment Memo” to convince their partners that the decision is sound. This document is a thorough analysis of the startup...

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Why I'm Joining super{set} as Chief Commercial Officer

Announcing Jon Suarez-Davis (jsd) as super{set}’s Chief Commercial Officer: jsd tells us in his own words why he's joining super{set}

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Silicon Valley’s Greatest Untapped Resource: Moms

This post was written by MarkovML Co-Founder, Lindsey Meyl, as part of our #PassTheMic series.

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MedCity News: It’s Time for the Tech Revolution to Come to Mental Health Diagnoses

Headlamp Health co-founder Andrew Marshak writes in the MedCity News that "We need to take inspiration from the progress in oncology over the last few decades and challenge ourselves to adapt its successful playbook to mental illness. It’s time for precision psychiatry."

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Jamming with Habu’s Matt Kilmartin on Partnership Strategy

Discover how Habu, a trailblazer in data clean room technology, utilizes strategic partnerships with giants like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS to expand its market reach and foster the potential of an emerging category. Learn from CEO Matt Kilmartin's insights on how collaboration is the secret sauce that brings innovation to life.

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Why the AI Revolution Will Be Data-Centric

Pankaj Rajan, co-founder of MarkovML, joins super{set} Chief Commercial Officer Jon Suarez-Davis (jsd) to discuss the role of data in gaining a competitive advantage in the AI revolution. Learn the difference between optimizing models and optimizing data in machine learning applications, and why effective collaboration will make or break the next-gen AI applications being created in businesses.

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