The on-air formula is as simple as the Startup Hustle podcast’s name: Match innovative personalities with compelling startup topics, said Matt DeCoursey, as the guest list count for the popular podcast now soars past 150.
“The people we have had on the show — like Sandy Kemper — people like him are intriguing,” said co-host Matt Watson, referencing the founder and CEO of C2FO, which recently made headlines for its $200 million funding round.
While the podcast boasts a worldwide audience, Startup Hustle heavily spotlights icons of the Kansas City startup community, with episodes this summer featuring such newsmakers as John Thomson, co-founder, and CEO of PayIt; Neal Sharma, co-founder of DEG; and Kilee Nickels, co-founder of Nickel and Suede.
With episodes ranging widely from such topics as raising capital and “Soda Pop Culture” to cannabis startups and sex coaching, the show is uniquely positioned to put Kansas City’s varied startup landscape on the map, DeCoursey and Watson said.
“We like to shine the light on Kansas City because it’s cool,” said DeCoursey proudly.
Matts behind the mics
Expressions of rapport across Startup Hustle’s growing list of episodes since mid-2018 come courtesy of DeCoursey’s and Watson’s startup expertise. Both are veteran entrepreneurs with stories of success already behind them.
DeCoursey’s first big venture KC Tix began in his Kansas City bedroom in 2009. Armed with $8,000 on his American Express, he turned a software development company into revenue-generated mega profit, he said. The experience led to his first book, “Million Dollar Bedroom: Scrappy Lessons of Success, Setbacks, and Other Surprises Not Taught in Business School.”
“That business ended up doing about $30 million in revenue over the next eight years,” said DeCoursey. “[After selling the business in 2016], I had people coming to me, asking me for advice.”
A second book, “Balance Me,” followed with lessons about finding a balance in the work-life dynamic. And his most recent effort, “The Realist’s Guide to a Successful Music Career,” explores the parallels and paradoxes of the music business.
“I’ve always been someone that people turn to because they know I will give them a straight answer,” said DeCoursey.
Co-host Watson is often on the receiving end of those straight shots, serving as a foil for DeCoursey’s humor but also an example of the potential for success in Kansas City.
Watson co-founded VinSolutions, which sold for $147 million in 2011. His startup Stackify was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies.
Click here to read more about Stackify and the Inc. 5000 win.
On Episode 150: Selling Your Startup, DeCoursey elevated his co-host alongside DEG’s Sharma, telling listeners, “I’m so humbled to be around such quality founders and Kansas City legends.”
A resource for entrepreneurs
“And we’re back!” DeCoursey declares at the start of each new Startup Hustle podcast.
The CEO of GigaBook and co-founder of Leawood-based Full Scale, alongside Watson, DeCoursey said the show has gone from a fun diversion to a much-anticipated avenue for helping founders and curious members of the community skip over mistakes already experienced by other business leaders.
“All I do, all day every day is talk to different businesses about what they can do to improve, grow more and spend less,” he said.
(Editor’s note: Full Scale is a partner of StartLand News and its parent organization, the Kansas City Startup Foundation.)
Episodes are now released four times a week, Mondays through Thursdays, with Startup Hustle’s brand tied closely to DeCoursey’s and Watson’s personalities, they said.
“Businesses can come and go, but you are always you,” DeCoursey said, emphasizing the importance of authenticity.
Now charting among Apple’s Top 100 Business Podcasts of 2019, the show — like Kansas City — has proven to be a standout among its peers, he said.
“Ten-thousand new podcasts come out every week!” said DeCoursey, expressing amazement at the reach and lasting power Startup Hustle has achieved so far.