Start Up

Start Up is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company.


Top Rated Episodes:

No one has rated an episode of this show yet. Select an episode from the list below to add your own rating.


All Episodes

January 13, 2017

In episode 2 of this season of StartUp, producer Molly Messick followed producers Eric Mennel and Ngofeen Mputubwele, who were working on creating a new Gimlet show called Twice Removed. That show has now launched. In this special bonus episode, Alex Blumberg catches up with Eric and Ngofeen, to see how things have been going since Molly spoke with them this past summer. Enjoy this update from the Twice Removed team and then listen to the first half of a new episode, which features Alex’s wife Nazanin Rafsanjani as a special guest. 

January 13, 2017

In episode 2 of this season of StartUp, producer Molly Messick followed producers Eric Mennel and Ngofeen Mputubwele, who were working on creating a new Gimlet show called Twice Removed. That show has now launched. In this special bonus episode, Alex Blumberg catches up with Eric and Ngofeen, to see how things have been going since Molly spoke with them this past summer. Enjoy this update from the Twice Removed team and then listen to the first half of a new episode, which features Alex’s wife Nazanin Rafsanjani as a special guest. 

December 22, 2016

Following his ousting from American Apparel, Dov Charney has been eager to restart and launch his new venture—Los Angeles Apparel. He has assembled the fabric, the equipment, and the people to help make his new clothing line. Now he needs to find his customer base.

In this, the season finale of StartUp, Charney debuts his product to a group of people that knows his history well. But will his past prove to be an obstacle, or become part of what leads his new business to success?

Our Sponsors

Adobe XD – Shape the future of Adobe XD by downloading the beta. To get started go to adobe.ly/xdstartup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

December 16, 2016

In the spring of 2014, the American Apparel board offered Dov Charney two options: forfeit your position as CEO and stay on as a creative consultant or be removed from the company entirely. Charney chose the latter, and it became big news.

It’s a story that has followed Charney as he starts his new business. But there are two accounts of what happened at American Apparel: Dov’s and the board’s. In this episode, we explore the moments that led up to Charney’s ousting, and the fallout from a founder’s firing.

Our Sponsors

Adobe XD – Shape the future of Adobe XD by downloading the beta. To get started go to adobe.ly/xdstartup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

December 9, 2016

In 2007, Dov Charney took American Apparel public, placing the company under heightened scrutiny. This meant Charney lost the privacy and autonomy he’d grown accustomed to.  And, as more stories emerged from inside the company, some began to reevaluate the man they’d chosen to work with.

Our Sponsors
Amazon – Visit amazon.com/launchpad to support a startup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account
WunderCapitalTo learn more about how to invest with Wunder Capital, and to create an account for free, go to WunderCapital.com/startup

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

December 9, 2016

In 2007, Dov Charney took American Apparel public, placing the company under heightened scrutiny. This meant Charney lost the privacy and autonomy he’d grown accustomed to.  And, as more stories emerged from inside the company, some began to reevaluate the man they’d chosen to work with.

Our Sponsors
Amazon – Visit amazon.com/launchpad to support a startup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account
WunderCapitalTo learn more about how to invest with Wunder Capital, and to create an account for free, go to WunderCapital.com/startup

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

December 9, 2016

In 2007, Dov Charney took American Apparel public, placing the company under heightened scrutiny. This meant Charney lost the privacy and autonomy he’d grown accustomed to.  And, as more stories emerged from inside the company, some began to reevaluate the man they’d chosen to work with.

Our Sponsors
Amazon – Visit amazon.com/launchpad to support a startup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account
WunderCapitalTo learn more about how to invest with Wunder Capital, and to create an account for free, go to WunderCapital.com/startup

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

December 2, 2016

While Dov Charney was running American Apparel, he didn’t shy away from unconventionality. And for many entrepreneurs, breaking convention is an essential part of growing an innovative company. But pushing boundaries is one thing. Completely ignoring them is another.

In this episode, we explore the nebulous lines between Charney’s professional and personal relationships. We ask the the women of American Apparel what it was like to work for the former CEO and how, in a company where the boundaries aren’t clear, they could determine what was—and wasn’t—appropriate in the workplace.

Our Sponsors

Blue Apron – Get your first three Blue Apron meals delivered for free by going to blueapron.com/startup.

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account.

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

December 2, 2016

While Dov Charney was running American Apparel, he didn’t shy away from unconventionality. And for many entrepreneurs, breaking convention is an essential part of growing an innovative company. But pushing boundaries is one thing. Completely ignoring them is another.

In this episode, we explore the nebulous lines between Charney’s professional and personal relationships. We ask the the women of American Apparel what it was like to work for the former CEO and how, in a company where the boundaries aren’t clear, they could determine what was—and wasn’t—appropriate in the workplace.

Our Sponsors

Blue Apron – Get your first three Blue Apron meals delivered for free by going to blueapron.com/startup.

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account.

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

November 23, 2016

Alex Blumberg interviews Pat Walters, Eli Horowitz, Marc Smerling, and Zac Stuart-Pontier — the creators of Gimlet’s three newest shows. Hear how Gimlet developed these projects and what they are all about. And enjoy some favorite clips as well as sneak peeks from upcoming episodes.

StartUp Theme by Mark Phillips.

Our Sponsors

Frank & Oak – Go to frankandoak.com/startup to get your first outfit for $79 (a pair of pants and a shirt).

Lenovo – Go to www.lenovo.com/datacenter to learn how Lenovo is developing scalable and reliable datacenter solutions.

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account.

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

November 18, 2016

In this episode, we trace American Apparel’s rise from the early wholesale days in South Carolina to the booming retail behemoth that the company eventually became. We speak with some of the people closest to Dov Charney along the way, in order to figure out how his past informs the present.
We also begin to explore how sexuality came to define the American Apparel brand, and how Dov’s unorthodox business practices and questionable personal behavior led to widespread scrutiny about what was really going on at the company. 

Our Sponsors

Blue Apron – Get your first three Blue Apron meals delivered for free by going to blueapron.com/startup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account

Virgin Atlantic – Business is an adventure and everyone at Virgin works hard to make sure its one you won’t forget. Go to virginatlantic.com/startup to find out more

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

November 11, 2016

Dov Charney is trying to rebuild a multi-million dollar apparel company from the ground up. But he can’t do it alone. In this episode, we’ll hear from the people who have signed on to work with Charney, the people who have remained loyal to him since the early days of American Apparel, and those who have been inspired to join him in his new venture.

The commitment Charney receives from his workers feels like a double-edged sword—the more they devote their time and energy to his new company, the more they depend on its success. This time around, the pressure to succeed feels much, much higher.

To learn more about Undone and the other shows Gimlet is launching this fall, go to gimletmedia.com/fallseason.

Our Sponsors

Amazon – Visit amazon.com/launchpad to support a startup

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

Zenefits – To learn more about Zenefts and to schedule a free demo, go to zenefits.com/startup.

November 4, 2016

Season 4 of StartUp continues with the story of a well-known entrepreneur who built a widely recognized business, lost it all, and is now starting over—from scratch.

Over the next several episodes, we’ll hear as this founder makes his second attempt at success, and creates an entirely new company in the shadow of his controversial past.

Our Sponsors

Amazon – Visit amazon.com/launchpad to support a startup

The Black Tux – Visit theblacktux.com/startup to experience a new way to rent suits and tuxedos

Squarespace – The easiest way to create a beautiful website, portfolio or online store. Use the offer code “STARTUP” to get 10% off your first purchase.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account

Virgin Atlantic – Business is an adventure and everyone at Virgin works hard to make sure its one you won’t forget. Go to virginatlantic.com to find out more

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

October 20, 2016

This week, Alex receives feedback about his job performance from his co-workers, friends, and family. Some of it is good, some less so. But there is something else that comes up during the review process that shocks him.

We explore what happens when you unpack your emotional baggage—or someone unpacks it for you—and you realize the unexpected effect that it has been having on your team.

In this final Gimlet-focused episode of season four, we take a raw and intimate look at a defining moment in the trajectory of a CEO.

Our Sponsors
The Black Tux – Visit theblacktux.com/startup to experience a new way to rent suits and tuxedos

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account

Virgin Atlantic – Business is an adventure and everyone at Virgin works hard to make sure its one you won’t forget. Go to virginatlantic.com to find out more

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

October 13, 2016

Growth. It can be exciting, it can be motivating, and it can be really stressful. In this week’s episode, we take a look at the tensions that Gimlet’s growth spurt is creating. 

We speak with the team producing one of our upcoming shows to see what it’s really like to build a podcast from the ground up. Each of them is being asked to step up to the plate in a way that they never have before, and some are realizing that the support they expected, it just isn’t there. 

People are pushed to their limits, emotions run high, and things that have remained hitherto unsaid are finally aired.

Our Sponsors
Lenovo – Go to www.lenovo.com/datacenter to learn how Lenovo is developing scalable and reliable datacenter solutions

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account

Virgin Atlantic – Business is an adventure and everyone at Virgin works hard to make sure its one you won’t forget. Go to virginatlantic.com to find out more

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

October 6, 2016

StartUp is back! And we’re kicking Season 4 off with an update on what’s happening here at Gimlet Media. 

Since the start of the year, Gimlet has more than doubled in size. And while growth is often the goal for a startup, it also costs a lot of money. In this episode, Alex and his team ask themselves some very scary questions: How are they going to pay for all this growth? And what will happen if they can’t? 
With a larger staff and six new shows launching in the fall, this feels like a particularly pivotal moment at the company. There are big decisions to be made, with potentially even bigger consequences.

Our Sponsors
Frank & Oak – Go to frankandoak.com/startup to get your first outfit for $79 (a pair of pants and a shirt).

HPE – To learn more about how HPE can provide innovative and effective IT solutions for your business go to HPE.com/gimlet

Mailchimp – More than 12 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers, market their products, and grow their businesses every day.

Vimeo – To learn more about Vimeo Business,  go to vimeo.com/StartUp10 and enter the promo code StartUp10 to save 10 percent on your Vimeo Business account.

Wealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.

October 4, 2016

Season 4 of StartUp is almost here. Here’s a sneak peek of the fourth season, which kicks off with some episodes about the company that makes this podcast: Gimlet Media.

Since we last checked in on Gimlet HQ, the company has grown a ton. And with growth, come the growing pains. Season 4 of StartUp premieres on October 6.

October 4, 2016

Season 4 of StartUp is almost here. Here’s a sneak peek of the fourth season, which kicks off with some episodes about the company that makes this podcast: Gimlet Media.

Since we last checked in on Gimlet HQ, the company has grown a ton. And with growth, come the growing pains. Season 4 of StartUp premieres on October 6.

September 26, 2016

Alex Blumberg sits down with Jonathan Goldstein, host of Gimlet Media’s newest show, Heavyweight. They talk about working at This American Life, about Jonathan’s previous show, WireTap, about Kermit the Frog. And, they play an excerpt from a Heavyweight episode: Gregor.

StartUp will return with a full season on October 6th.

StartUp Theme by Build Buildings.

Heavyweight Info:

20 years ago, Gregor lent some CDs to a musician friend. The CDs helped make him a famous rockstar. Now, Gregor would like some recognition. But mostly, he wants his CDs back.

Credits
Heavyweight is hosted and produced by Jonathan Goldstein, along with Wendy Dorr, Chris Neary, and Kalila Holt. 
Editing by Alex Blumberg & Peter Clowney.  
Special thanks to Emily Condon, Jackie Cohen, Paul Tough, Stevie Lane, Michelle Harris, Dimitri Erlich, Sean Cole and Jorge Just. 
The show was mixed by Haley Shaw. 
Music for this episode by Christine Fellows, with additional music by Takstar, The Eastern Watershed Klezmer Quartet and Haley Shaw, who also did our ad music. Our theme song is by The Weakerthans courtesy of Epitaph Records.

July 28, 2016

Alex Blumberg interviews Wendy Zuckerman, host of Gimlet Media’s newest show, Science Vs. Hear how Wendy found her way to Gimlet and enjoy the first half of the latest episode: Science Vs Attachment Parenting. 

June 23, 2016

Edgar Diaz has dedicated his life to dairy. He sees an incredible beauty in milk and the things that can come from it: soft cheese, rich dulce de leche, and creamy yogurt.
He knows that to produce a really good yogurt, the conditions are just as important as the ingredients. You can use the freshest milk, but if your temperature is off or the timing inexact you risk ruining the whole batch.
Edgar has a lot in common with some of the world’s most successful founders: intense passion, a deep knowledge of his product, and awards and acclaim from peers in his field. He seems to have all the ingredients for success, and the conditions seem right, so why is he so far from it?

June 17, 2016

Coss Marte went from running a multi-million dollar drug operation to sitting in solitary confinement. And it’s here, alone in his cell, where he gets the idea for his next business: a fitness company inspired by his time behind bars. But Coss quickly learns that building a legal business comes with its own set of challenges—one being that pitching your company on stage to a bunch of investors requires a slightly different approach to selling an eight-ball outside a busy New York club.
Building a startup is a tough and uncertain endeavor for any founder. But for one with a criminal history, the journey can be far more complicated.

June 9, 2016

Coss Marte is getting ready to pitch his company to a panel of prominent entrepreneurs and an audience of hundreds. He’s competing against five other startups for a chance at $100,000. With this money, Coss hopes to grow his small exercise studio in the Lower East Side of Manhattan into an international fitness brand. 

But this isn’t his first experience with scaling up. In his early twenties, Coss ran a business that brought in nearly $4 million in annual revenue, a business that catered to doctors, judges and lawyers. A business that landed him a seven year prison sentence.
This is part one of Coss’s story on his path from felon to founder.

May 27, 2016

Two men decide to start a company. Everything is going well… until it’s not. That’s the moment they decide to start recording their conversations—painful, awkward, emotional conversations.

Jason and Vincent launched Bento about a year ago. Their goal was to make Pan-Asian food fresh, tasty, and on-demand. They joined the food tech swell just as it was winding down, just as the funding was drying up, just as the smaller players were being weeded out. With only a year under their belt and a quickly draining bank account, Bento’s odds don’t look good. We listen in on the co-founders as they try to decide whether their setbacks are just bumps on the road to success or a sign to shut things down.

May 20, 2016

It’s not uncommon for shoppers to walk out of Mary Going’s store feeling on top of the world. Mary runs Saint Harridan, a company that makes custom suits for the gender non-conforming. With her store, Mary has created a space that caters to the needs of butch women and trans men—something that doesn’t happen very often. Her fans are enthusiastic and dedicated, her products are selling out… and she can barely pay her rent.

Saint Harridan is struggling to raise enough money to cover basic costs. Mary knows the demand for her product is there, but it isn’t translating into dollars. Her runway is getting shorter and shorter, but she’s hoping that by turning to her community, she can buy time and make a comeback.

April 28, 2016

Mike is on a mission to bring his customers something they desperately want. Every week, he embarks on a long and unpredictable journey across international borders and smuggles back some highly sought-after goods. And though what he’s doing is technically legal, Mike goes to unusual lengths to evade authorities who want to shut his whole operation down.

What Mike does is a hassle. He’s tired, he’s ready to move on. Still, he can’t seem to shake it, and finds himself stuck running a business he never imagined would make it this far.

April 21, 2016

We pick up where we left off in the last episode, and hear how Justin, Emmett, Michael, and Kyle try to extend the life of their video-streaming company by making some risky but important decisions. In the process, their scrappy startup catches the eye of some very powerful people who challenge everything they’ve built.

The road of a startup is a bumpy one and, as Justin and his team are finding out, they have only just gotten started.   

April 21, 2016

We pick up where we left off in the last episode, and hear how Justin, Emmett, Michael, and Kyle try to extend the life of their video-streaming company by making some risky but important decisions. In the process, their scrappy startup catches the eye of some very powerful people who challenge everything they’ve built.

The road of a startup is a bumpy one and, as Justin and his team are finding out, they have only just gotten started.   

April 15, 2016

Welcome to the first episode of Season 3! 

This season, we’re doing something new. Instead of following one company over many episodes, we’ll be telling the stories of a bunch of different companies. This season, you’ll meet entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, in all sorts of businesses. We’ll follow prisoners, tailors, smugglers, and tech geeks. And these founders all actually have something in common: their companies are stuck, and they know they need to make a big change. But they have no idea what to change, or whether it will bring the end or a whole new beginning. 

We’re kicking off this season with a story about a group of friends that moves across the country to launch an unlikely website that they think could replace television. The media loves them. They just need to figure out how to get their users to feel the same way. 

January 7, 2016

As we wrap up this mini-season, Lisa Chow comes b…

April 23, 2015

First comes love…then comes equity

StartUp is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network.

In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company. The business is Dating Ring, a dating company that combines technology with old-fashioned matchmaking. The founders are women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. And over the 10 episodes, we’ll take you inside that world. Some of the challenges they face are different from Alex’s: founder disagreements, hellish fundraising, and sexism. But just like Gimlet’s story, theirs is also a transparent account of something that happens everyday in America, but we rarely get to see firsthand: starting a business.

April 23, 2015

First comes love…then comes equity 

StartUp is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. 

In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company. The business is Dating Ring, a dating company that combines technology with old-fashioned matchmaking. The founders are women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. And over the 10 episodes, we’ll take you inside that world. Some of the challenges they face are different from Alex’s: founder disagreements, hellish fundraising, and sexism. But just like Gimlet’s story, theirs is also a transparent account of something that happens everyday in America, but we rarely get to see firsthand: starting a business. 

January 18, 2015

Recovering from a breaking pointThanks to every…