The CTStartup podcast has a straightforward focus – it’s all about connecting people who are passionate about the growing Connecticut startup ecosystem. CTNext and Connecticut Innovations are pleased to have signed on as CTStartup’s new lead sponsors, because we, like the entrepreneurs who host and produce the program, are also passionate about the ecosystem, and about the people and companies it serves.
Below you’ll find links to CTStartup’s most recent episodes at the end of each episode summary. For a complete listing going back to Episode 1, and to learn more about the people behind it, visit ctstartup.com.
Episode 135: Talking Insurance in the Insurance Capital
Any podcast on businesses in Connecticut HAS to discuss innovation in insurance, and on this episode, Eric and Ojala kick off a discussion with two of Hartford’s insurance innovators. Join us for a conversation with Cigna, a Hartford insurance staple for decades.
Episode 134: Building Repeatability with Author Amos Schwartzfab
This episode is a bit different! Eric takes some time to talk with author and entrepreneur Amos Schwartzfab, who co-authored “Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability Into Your Business.” Built on decades of experience across hundreds of companies, Levers condenses the essentials of creating a metrics-driven company into five core workshops to help startups recognize their potential.
Episode 134: Building Repeatability with Author Amos Schwartzfab
Episode 133: Building the World Mid-Pandemic with Stanley Black & Decker
While some companies were relocating out of Connecticut, Stanley Black & Decker has been recommitting to the state it has called home for over 160 years. On this episode we speak with their Vice President of Business Development Marty Guay, who discusses navigating a global Fortune 500 company through a global pandemic, the sharp rise of DIYers stuck at home, and his optimistic outlook on Connecticut.
Episode 132: Elevating the Insurance Experience with Aureus Analytics
Customer retention is a major issue for insurance companies, as is insurance fraud, and figuring out how to separate the good customers from the bad is worth billions. That is where Aureus Analytics comes in, using predictive analytics and machine learning to deliver insights to help insurers maximize customer lifetime value while providing a better customer experience. In this episode Ojala sits with owner Anurag Shah to discuss how he is helping reshape the insurance customer experience.
Episode 131: Driving Innovation Through Community Activation with InsureTech Hartford
Being the insurance capital of the country, it should come as no surprise that Hartford is home to numerous insurance startups. Enter InsureTech Hartford, a community organization founded and run by insurance professionals, bringing this community together and promoting the entrepreneur ecosystem.
Episode 130: Building a franchise across the insurance value chain with Nassau Re
How do you become a 163 year old startup? It may seem like an oxymoron, but when it comes to reinventing itself, Nassau Re has made a name for itself in very short order. Tune in as Eric and Ojala discuss the ups and downs of insurance, finance, and supporting the Hartford startup ecosystem.
Episode 129: Dining In with Hartford’s Parkville Market
Launching a business – especially a food business – in the middle of a pandemic is a bold move. But that is exactly what the long-anticipated Parkville Market did in 2020, bringing its vision of a food hall to Hartford’s hip Parkville section. Tune in for an exciting look at how this blooming business overcame so much and has reenergized an entire neighborhood.
Episode 128: Coming Full Circle with the reSET Community
As we continue our Hartford Innovation Places series, we revisit a familiar name in the capitol startup ecosystem – reSET. The home and starting point of many great and innovative companies, reSET has become a hub of entrepreneurship in Hartford. In this episode we interview reSET’s executive directory Sarah Bodley for a look at what in the incubator’s pipeline and future.
Episode 127: Bringing Innovation Places to the Capital With Launc[H]artford
When the Innovation Places project was first announced, it was no surprise that Hartford was selected as one of Connecticut’s designated innovation hubs. Several years later, the Innovation Places project has poured millions into growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state capitol, and we’ve interviewed several companies and organizations that have benefitted from this effort to bolster local startups.
Our journey begins with Launch Hartford, the organization managing the Innovation Places project, as we discuss how this program has helped jumpstart local business activity despite the unplanned pandemic.
Episode 126: The Return of the Roundtable and the Reopening of Connecticut
The pandemic made it difficult to get together, but people always find ways to connect. And for the first time in awhile, the CT Startup Podcast gang is back together, with Eric, Chris, Dave, and Ojala touching on the pandemic’s effects on business in CT, how the workplace is evolving, and whether CT is more blue collar than white collar in the post-pandemic world. Plus, Ojala put’s Chris in his place (as usual), so this is one episode you don’t want to miss!
Episode 125: Banking on Legal Weed With Green Check Verified
Recreational weed is big business, even though it remains illegal at the Federal level – which makes working with traditional banks a bit…difficult. But Mike Kennedy of Green Check Verified has stepped in to offer these businesses a better way to bank while minimizing the time, cost, and risk required to maintain compliance.
Episode 124: Episode 124: An Unabashed Outlook on Business Life in CT with Mark Lassoff
Few people can tell it like it is when it comes to doing business in Connecticut the way Mark Lassoff can. Founder of Framework Tech Media and longtime web/mobile development instructor, Mark reflects with Eric on the past decade of working in Connecticut, the struggles and triumphs that have marked his career, what the future holds post-pandemic, and why he’s ready for a new adventure in a new place.
Episode 122: Variety and Vision with New Haven’s Preview Labs
The gaming world has grown by leaps and bounds, and many entreprenuers have great ideas – but lack the technical skills to implement their vision. That’s when they turn to Bernard François, founder of rapid game prototyping company Preview Labs. Bernard’s journey may have started across the Atlantic, but his entrepreneurial spirit is the sort of thing the American Dream is made of.
You can also learn more about Bernard’s efforts to unite the CT game developer community with his other project, GameDev CT.
Episode 121: Finding Your Venn with Jaime Laufer
Hiring an employee is all about humans – yet the hiring process seems to be more and more automated, and less human, all the time. Enter Jamie Laufer and her recruitment firm Venn, which is grounded in the belief that a person’s greatest potential lives at the intersection of their talent and passion. Tune in to hear how she started her business mid-pandemic, and how she is bringing a different take to the recruitment process.
Episode 120: Off the Field Marketing with Paul Guarino of PG Sports
Startups and businesses can take many different shapes – some are full-time endeavors, others are more like successful side hustles. For Paul Gaurino of PG Sports, the line has definitely blurred as the sports apparel brand has been flourishing into a beast of its own. Tune in for a discussion about sports, startups, and building a brand from a deeply held passion.
Episode 119: Bottom Up Entrepreneurship in New Haven with COLLAB
One part of a vibrant city and culture is that when people come to or move for work, for school, or an event they fall in love with it and decide to stay. This is the case for both co-directors of Collab, Caroline Tanbee Smith and Margaret Lee who came to school at Yale and decided to make New Haven home after they graduated. The Connecticut innovation ecosystem is lucky to have these two as they founded Collab to bring a Heart based approach to building companies and uplifting entrepreneurs. In this episode Eric speaks to them about the Why behind starting Collab and their upcoming accelerator that starts this spring.
Episode 118: Be Bolder with the Bolder Company 2/17/21
Dave Menard and Eric Francis sit down with the founders of The Bolder Company. Jenny Drescher and Ellen Ornato first came on CTStartup as Connect and Improv and return in their new form, as The Bolder Company. A fun conversation which highlighted how COVID-19 forced them to focus their energy into the business which they could have the most impact on. Great lessons for businesses in this episode in addition to the case being made that puppets are necessary addons to a zoom call. Check them out at theboldercompany.com.
Episode 117: The Full Potential Movement with Nick Wagner 2/9/21
Being an entrepreneur comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and Nick Wagner highlights how you can be an entrepreneur even with 9-5. Eric Francis sat down with Nick to explore his entrepreneurial journey from his first DJ contract with his high school to selling an aftermarket car parts business to starting a nonprofit. Through his non-profit C.I.T.E, Nick launched the Full Potential Movement to share career stories, ideas, and experiences to empower people to reach their full potential. This wide ranging conversation highlights how to cultivate and harness entrepreneurial skills in your career.
Episode 116: Evolution of an Entrepreneur & Company with Michael Cocuzza of Enviro Power 2/3/21
Eric Francis talks with Michael Cocuzza, Founder and CTO of EnviroPower, in his second appearance on the podcasts about discussing the evolution of his company and his own story as an entrepreneur. Over the past couple years, Michael has created a manufacturing company that will be releasing their SmartWatt boiler in 2021. The next generation in heating technology, the SmartWatt boiler produces high efficiency heat while generating cleaner and inexpensive electricity. The SmartWatt Boiler is designed to generate significant savings on operating-cost for homeowners, landlords and grid operators and reduce the carbon footprint for millions of buildings. Check them out at https://www.enviropowertec.com/