Office Hours Podcast: How Outer Aims To Disrupt The Outdoor Furniture Industry

Office Hours Podcast: How Outer Aims To Disrupt The Outdoor Furniture Industry

I don't quite remember why I passed on investing in Jiake Liu's company, Outer. But I do know why I had him on this week's episode of "Office Hours."

Liu has all sorts of qualities I admire in founders: He's dedicated, smart, experienced and he's had some high-quality "failure" that taught him big lessons about how to lead and run a business.

Running businesses was something Liu started doing as a teenager, largely by solving business problems for his family. That hands on experience gave him a fundamental understanding of how to run a successful enterprise. It also fed his entrepreneurial thirst and ultimately led to his cofounding and leading Outer, an outdoor furniture and lifestyle company.

Hear some hard-earned lessons from Liu about startups, his "Shark Tank" pitch day experience and how he maintains investor relationships even if they pass on investing — like with me.

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On this week's episode of Just Go Grind, hear from Marlon Nichols, founding managing general partner at MaC Venture Capital, a seed-stage venture fund whose investments run from $1.5 million to about $2 million. Their focus is on emerging behavioral and cultural trends plus technology that enterprise will need to stay current.

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Justin Gordon
Justin Gordon is the founder of "Just Go Grind" and host of the "Just Go Grind Podcast," a daily show with more than 200 episodes featuring interviews with entrepreneurs and investors. He has an MBA from USC, is an aspiring runner with a 1:29 half marathon personal best, and wants to help one billion people in his lifetime.

Despite — or in many cases because of — the raging pandemic, 2020 was a great year for many tech startups. It turned out to be an ideal time to be in the video game business, developing a streaming ecommerce platform for Gen Z, or helping restaurants with their online ordering.

But which companies in Southern California had the best year? That is highly subjective of course. But in an attempt to highlight who's hot, we asked dozens of the region's top VCs to weigh in.

We wanted to know what companies they wish they would have invested in if they could go back and do it all over again.

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Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.