Lindsay Tjepkema - Casted

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This is a podcast episode titled, Lindsay Tjepkema - Casted. The summary for this episode is: <p>Lindsay Tjepkema is the CEO &amp; Co-Founder of Casted, the only amplified marketing platform, and is where we host our very own podcast! Lindsay has an extensive background in marketing, is passionate about women in leadership and workplace culture, is a podcast host and speaker, and is a mother of 3 boys. </p><p>Lindsay started her company just before the pandemic hit; what a time 😅. Today, she takes us through her journey as a marketing leader turned CEO and Co-Founder of a company. She shares how she put her vision into play and where she hopes to take Casted in the future. Listen now!</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Takeaways</strong>:</p><p>00:03&nbsp;-&nbsp;02:07 Introduction to episode and Lindsay</p><p>02:32&nbsp;-&nbsp;03:39 Set out to be the change you want to see</p><p>04:04&nbsp;-&nbsp;06:37 The process of putting a vision to play</p><p>07:01&nbsp;-&nbsp;09:00 The good, the bad, the ugly - Having a demanding work and personal life</p><p>09:39&nbsp;-&nbsp;11:56 Venture Capitalist Funding - How it happens and what the process is like</p><p>14:40&nbsp;-&nbsp;16:08 A day in the life of Lindsay Tjepkema</p><p>18:27&nbsp;-&nbsp;20:36 Casting a Vision - An evolution of Casted</p><p>23:26&nbsp;-&nbsp;25:07 The biggest win at Casted</p><p>27:15&nbsp;-&nbsp;28:42 Final Thoughts</p>
Introduction to episode and Lindsay
02:03 MIN
Set out to be the change you want to see
01:07 MIN
The process of putting a vision to play
02:32 MIN
The good, the bad, the ugly - Having a demanding work and personal life
01:58 MIN
Venture Capitalist Funding - How it happens and what the process is like
02:16 MIN
A day in the life of Lindsay Tjepkema
01:27 MIN
Casting a Vision - An evolution of Casted
02:08 MIN
The biggest win at Casted
01:41 MIN
Final Thoughts
01:27 MIN

Michelle Brandriss: Hi everyone and welcome to From the Basement Up. I am Michelle Brandriss, your host, and I'm actually the founder of namebubbles. com. We are welcoming a very special person, Lindsay Tjepkema, she is the founder of Casted. And the reason why she's so special to us is that Casted has been a huge help in getting our podcast out of the basement and into your favorite listening platform. Lindsay is the total guru when it comes to B2B and amplifying your marketing message. I love hearing her story. She began her career in marketing and she started her business, this business, during COVID- 19. She's also our first guest who has experience with venture capitalists. This is something that I didn't know anything about so I really enjoyed listening to her and how it helped her company get started. I've learned so much and I can't wait to share what Lindsay and her co- founders have built over the last few years at Casted. This is a special episode because I'm actually using Lindsay's technology here for our podcast. I just love her story, and I wanted to also have our listeners also hear how she got started, and she started a technology company. Lindsay, to start, I would love... First of all, tell us about you.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, first thank you for using Casted, and thank you for having me. This is such a pleasure and such an honor. Casted, we're a marketing technology platform to help podcasts like this one not only get to the people who want to experience it but also help you ring it out and use it in places that aren't a podcast like on your blog, and in your email, and on your social media, and then measure its impact on the business. I got it started because I was a marketer who had that problem, problems that we solve today, and saw the opportunity ahead if something like Casted existed. In short, I'll leave it there and we can dig into it. That's my background is B2B marketing.

Michelle Brandriss: Oh, excellent. As far as marketing goes, I mean, were you working on a podcast side of things? I think that your insight is really great as far as that's why we were so attracted to your platform where everything's done for you. You're able to take the snippets and get it out and get it out for everybody on social media channels. How long had you worked in the podcast industry?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Sure. I was in B2B marketing for 15 years. I've always been on the brand building, content marketing customer experience side of the world. I worked at agencies, I worked at large global companies, and small teen tiny boutique companies but I've always been on the brand and content side of marketing land. And before starting Casted I was running a brand and content team for a global SaaS company. I was brought in to build the team, build the strategy. And this was 2016 and I was like " You know what? We should do a podcast. This is a new thing as far as brands are concerned, I'm sure we could do some pretty cool things talking to customers and partners and industry experts." And it was, it was a really cool thing that we got to do. We got a lot of really great anecdotal feedback. But I was really frustrated that we couldn't basically do what Casted does. We didn't know what the impact was on the business. And that was really frustrating for me as a marketing leader not to be able to prove the value of what we were doing. I set out to be the change I wanted to see.

Michelle Brandriss: I love that. Be the change you want to see in the world. That's fantastic. So how long did it take you to put the vision into play? Summarize it, outline it. I mean, finding funding. I'm just curious. Just looking at the start of it. You had this idea and you grew it. What was the process?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Sometimes I think I was a little unconventional but then I'm like is there a conventional startup story? As I mentioned, I was a marketer and that was my background, and I was leading this global team. Realized there was a problem, was frustrated by it. Was duct taping together a solution with my team to get to some of the information that I felt like we should have but definitely not all of it. And then found myself in a conversation with Scott Dorsey. Now, Scott Dorsey was the founder of ExactTarget, sold his business gosh, nearly 10 years ago now to Salesforce, so he knows a thing or two about starting a business, growing a business, especially B2B SaaS. And since then had started a venture studio, a venture capital studio that starts and grows B2B SaaS businesses called High Alpha. And he and I were talking about B2B podcasting and having this conversation about this... Sure, B2B podcasting is a thing, but really there's an opportunity to disrupt all of B2B marketing as we know it. I knew that I had passion about that, I had experienced that because of the decade and a half, nearly two decades that I had spent in marketing. I was really convicted about what the future of B2B marketing needed to be and how that is... How it didn't need a one- off tool or point solution for podcasting it needed this new platform and really this new methodology to carry us forward. As we were talking, and what I heard myself say... Because we were just talking. He was poking around for discovery for what the market was... Where it was headed and what was happening in B2B podcasting. And as we were talking I was like" Wow, this is the change I needed to see, this is the thing that needs to happen." It was like if anything is to be created here I'm doing it. That just turned into" Hey, I want to start this company, can I do it as part of the studio? Let's do this thing." It was one of those moments where you could hear the words that are coming out of your mouth and you're like what am I signing up for here? But once I saw it I couldn't unsee it. And so I left my job as a marketing leader, VP of brand and content for a global enterprise SaaS business, to go be a first- time founder and CEO of a company that at that point had no employees, no customers, no product, just a vision, and a couple co- founders. That's the start.

Michelle Brandriss: Good for you. I mean, that is a hard decision but you saw it and you're making it happen so congratulations.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh, thanks.

Michelle Brandriss: So as far as the personal life. I hope you don't mind, I know your mom.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes.

Michelle Brandriss: With your spouse, what was that conversation like at home?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh gosh, I wish it was fun. It's funny to think it was a conversation. It was so many conversations over so many days. Yes, I have a husband, we have two demanding careers, and then I have three kids. So I have three boys. At the time it was a seven- year- old and twin five- year- olds, and now it's an 11- year- old and twin nine- year- olds. That was already insane and already crazy. To go think that I would jump into this entrepreneur venture- backed founder of a startup situation felt like yeah, this makes sense, this feels right for us, but also felt insane. But again, once you see it you can't unsee it. I'm so blessed so lucky to have a husband who was like" How can you not do this? We will figure it out we always have. How can we not do this?" So we just made it happen. There have been times that we just have both been like" What are we doing?" It's one thing to see a parent it's another thing to see their mom doing something like this. Especially because we were all home in the pandemic times, when I was raising our Series A, they saw it upfront. And they literally would stand in my doorway sometimes and make me nervous when I was talking to an investor. And so they got literally a front- row seat to the growth of this company and the super hard times. And they've seen the good, bad, and the ugly. That's pretty cool that they are seeing entrepreneurship upfront. But also there have been times that are like wow, it could be a lot easier if we had done something differently together.

Michelle Brandriss: Well, they're seeing the lessons which it's fantastic.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Thank you.

Michelle Brandriss: I have a son who's 16 now and I do my best to leave work at work, but there are days and he'll ask" What's going on?" And I'll explain it to him because he can just see... He'll see my highs and he'll see my lows, and I do my best to stay even but it's a difficult process definitely.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true. It's very true.

Michelle Brandriss: I think you're my first guest that's ever had venture capitalist funding. And if you don't mind, can you tell me what that's like? How did that happen?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Sure. We got on that path from day one. As I mentioned, the venture studio. So that was something we signed up for, I signed up for in tandem with signing up to do this company. A lot of people have to make that choice of do I want to grow faster? Do I want to engage with investors? Is this a direction I want to take the company? I didn't have that. Good, bad or otherwise that's not a choice I got to or had to make because it was the same choice as making the decision to do this at all. That said, it's not something I had done before so it's been a big learning which is... I love learning so that's been really interesting. Early on I was learning everything I possibly could about venture capital. I read a book called Venture Deals. I asked all the questions I possibly could. And then you get thrown into the fire. When I raised my seed round pitching, I remember having questions about" Okay, so when I pitch" ... Because this was when it was all in person. I was like" Do I stand at the front of the room or is this a sit and have a conversation kind of thing?" It's those things that you don't realize how much you don't know until you have to ask where in the room do I sit or stand when I'm pitching. And then, of course, 100 conversations later you can do it with your eyes closed. But it's been a lot and it's been really exciting in many ways. Talking to investors is my favorite thing because you get to share your vision for what you're super passionate about, and what you're excited about, and the opportunity... You get to help someone see this beautiful opportunity for a future that only you can see until you can share that vision. That's really, really cool. The downside is that there's no... I mean, it's venture, it's risky. There's a lot of what- ifs, and there's a lot of people who just don't get it. You show them your baby and they're like" I don't see what you see, I don't get it." And others that are like" Oh my gosh, I totally get it but we're not investing." That is strengthening, it helps you grow really quickly but it's tough.

Michelle Brandriss: As far as how did you find the venture group that ended up helping you go on this path? What's your background? I'm assuming you also have a business background. What do you need to have in place? If someone wants to go in this direction, what do you need to have in place to do it?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Interestingly, my background is marketing. I am a marketing nerd. I have a master's degree in integrated marketing communication so I don't have an MBA. That's been a big learning curve for me too. As any leader knows, your best path forward is by surrounding yourself with people who know more than you do, right? That's why for me, the venture studio approach was... It was something that I fell into but it's been good for me. Part of that is" Hey, we'll give you a little bit of startup capital, we'll start this business with you, we'll give you the expertise." So I had access to Scott, who I mentioned before, and his partners who have done this. They build and grow companies, they have all of their own exits. That's been huge. And then also, as part of the studio, they provide some guidance around how to set up your finances, and how to build a financial model, and some help with recruiting and standing up the business so that I could focus on what I know, which is the vision that I had for this beautiful future that I think can be true for B2B marketing. So that was the start. Still, I just learned as much as I possibly could. I had a lot of conversations, I talked to a lot of people, I met with a lot of people, I listened a lot, I listened to a lot of podcasts, I read a lot of books. I continue to do so. Because whenever you're not learning you're not only stagnating, you're regressing, I think, especially as a founder and a CEO. And I think as far as raising capital, I mean you find one person or an entity that believes in you, and your collective networks just help you chip away at the barriers around you to growth. You get a little bit here, and a little bit there, and a little buy- in here, and a little support there. You get a lot of nos, but all it takes is one yes to get you that much further and then you're off and running until you need to raise again.

Michelle Brandriss: I mean, you have a very full plate. I know that even with one child and doing this was very hard. You have three, and twins on top of that, so that's amazing. I'm just curious, what is a day in the life like for you?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh gosh. Is there a day in the life? I do a lot of this. Speaking, talking about what we do, talking about this path and this journey, and in different iterations of this. Going and speaking at events. I do a lot of that. I meet a lot with our senior leadership team about what's happening in and around the business. I do a lot of meeting with our partners. We're building out of a partner ecosystem now both for co- marketing, I'm running a lot of our marketing efforts. How are we getting our voice out there? How are we getting people as excited as we are about what's happening in this space and about how Casted can help? As you know, a day in the life at work is different every day but it's some iteration of that. I don't know. I get up early in the morning. I'm not one of those, you have to get up at 4:00 in the morning and hustle and grind. It's just literally I'm a morning person and I get up and I work out at the 5: 00 AM class because that's when I can fit it in. And then I get one set of kids off to school, and then I go get ready, and then I get the other child off to school, and then I get started probably not until 9: 00, even though I get up at 5: 00. Work all day and shut it down in order to take everybody to some sort of practice, or rehearsal, or small group, or something starting at 6: 00 PM every night until about 8: 30 or 9:00 every night. And then-

Michelle Brandriss: You have free time.

Lindsay Tjepkema: And then I do all the emails, and then I go to bed, and then I get up at 5: 00.

Michelle Brandriss: That's a lot, it is a lot. I mean, I look at you and it's amazing. What you have created in four years. I mean, so it's been about four years since you've launched then?

Lindsay Tjepkema: About three and a half.

Michelle Brandriss: 3 and a half. How long was the buildup before the actual launch?

Lindsay Tjepkema: My day one since I left a job and then went and had a seat in this venture studio... I always say it's funny, I wasn't building this in my basement so here we are, I'm From the Basement Up. I feel like I'm living a lie because I didn't start this in my basement. Day one was April 29th, 2019. And then I had a couple co- founders join me a couple days, weeks after. We had our first paying customer within the next 60 days just because we went out... I spent those first few weeks just talking to people, having conversations with other marketers so that we weren't building on something that was based on my own experiences but was like I had a hunch and I went and validated it and got as much data as we could from the marketplace. And those notes, those facetious copious notes turned into guidance for our MVP for what the minimum thing that we could build to get to market. And it also turned into our first prospect list of people who said, " When you build this thing let me know, I'm interested." So in about 60 days of those conversations, one of them turned into our first paying customer. And they're still on board today which is pretty cool. And then within our first 100 days, we had something for those first customers to log into. Our very, very first customer was onboard for a little over a month before they had anything to log into. Your earliest customers really are like investors. They come on board to help shape the roadmap and to be a part of what you're building. That was our first 100 days. We stood it up pretty quick.

Michelle Brandriss: Congratulations, that's amazing. As far as evolution of Casted, where do you see... Because you're a visionary so you must have plans way off in the future. Are you allowed to say?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Sure, I'll cast a vision all day long. To me, the vision is today what it always has been which is to usher in the movement that leads us to the next generation of B2B marketing. I've lived in this world my entire career. As I mentioned earlier, I've been a big nerd about B2B marketing for nearly two decades. The entire B2B world has largely been based on a playbook that's now antiquated and outdated. It's all been based on written content and blog posts which is cool, it's great. I love a blog, we have our blog. It doesn't take into account what we are doing right now. A real human authentic conversation that's captured in audio and video, that's something special. And we all know that which is why we're doing this personally and part of our brands. We're ushering in this new playbook, one might even say a playlist, that puts this at the center, that puts this at the heart. And we call that amplified marketing to say, " Start with something that's really rich and creative and that is the connective tissue between your brand and your audience." Start here literally with what you and I are doing right now. Invite others to listen in and be a part of it and then ring it out. Use this content across multiple channels to amplify that opportunity for connection, and then measure its impact on the business, rinse and repeat. And look for ways to continually go back to those conversations, use them again, and continue to measure more and more value, more and more impact on the business. And that's what we're doing. That's what Casted is here to do is to empower B2B marketers to maximize and measure the value of their creativity and connection and do it at scale through something called amplified marketing. I think that that can really be a movement, and can really turn into a large business that adds a lot of value to a lot of brands, and hopefully is a really great place to work for a lot of people.

Michelle Brandriss: That is a great segue into my next question. I'm curious because this amazes me. I know how hard it is to find that right mix of people who work well together. Building your team, it takes work. And just making sure you bring in the right people who know the right things and the right places. What has that been like? How many do you have on your team now?

Lindsay Tjepkema: We're at about 30 people today. It's been interesting. Pre- pandemic times we were all together but doing something that I think you'd call hybrid now, we just didn't know that that's what it was called then. And then we were fully remote for a year and a half through the heat of the pandemic. And then we got an office, and so now we're hybrid slash remote first now. That's been interesting. Most of us are in and around Indianapolis area so that we can physically get together at least sometimes. It's been interesting trying to build a business in the midst of a pandemic and now our recession. Part of the reason that I started Casted, and that my co- founders and I started Casted was because we wanted to build something... Not just a product, not just seize an opportunity in a marketplace, but to also build a team and build a culture that we want to be a part of. You're right it is tough, but I think... I try really hard to share the excitement and the passion that I have for what's possible and bring people in that share that, and that want to be a part of this movement, and want to be a part of empowering B2B marketers, not just doing a thing or building a thing. And I think that that makes all the difference.

Michelle Brandriss: It does. Just for people out there who are working on starting a business or working on your business, I didn't realize until... I mean, this is embarrassing, but how important your workplace really is and your culture for the people coming in, and their experience, and how important the relationships are. I mean, it's just all part of mental health. Just making sure that you're providing that really safe, fun, productive environment that they're also allowed to leave. They don't have to bury themselves in work when they get home. I love that you have the hybrid already. In some ways maybe the pandemic is going to help us all a little bit more balanced.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true.

Michelle Brandriss: And really to me, I'm just in awe of how quickly you grew this business. What was your biggest win? Because I know you have some big clients on board, but what do you think your biggest win was?

Lindsay Tjepkema: There's several things that I'm proud of, and it's the team. I mean, we were just finished talking about the team. And I think that one of the things that I'm proudest of was how we leaned in during the pandemic when we were just somewhere around a year old. The team really showed up for each other and really leaned into what we had built from a culture perspective. When we weren't sure where revenue was going to come from, and if marketing budgets were going to come back... Much like now. If marketing budgets were going to come back. If we were going to see an uptick because of the pandemic, brands leading into podcasting and video content, or if we were going to see some things freeze up. We leaned in and controlled the things that we could, which for us at that time was integrations. So we really leaned into what integrations could we build. And we built this really cool integration with HubSpot, and a really cool integration with Salesforce, and Marketo, and Pardot, and Drift. We didn't build it then, but we had the idea for what we would build later for this integration with WordPress. And that turned into some really cool conversations with existing customers and prospects that turned into customers because we controlled the things that we could and we were ready to react to the things that we couldn't. The team leaned into this culture that we built and showed up for each other and said like" Hey, life's crazy right now, you lean away, you go take a long bike ride, and I'm going to work on this integration. You can come back and I'm going to take a day off and do e- learning with my kids." It really strengthened us as people and let us be proud of what we were creating regardless of the things that we couldn't control.

Michelle Brandriss: It sounds like you created a very nice community for each other in a very difficult time. I mean-

Lindsay Tjepkema: This team is pretty great.

Michelle Brandriss: Good for you. Good for them. And I'm just curious. You hear on podcasts about people who go this route for the fast growth or the venture capitalist. If you were to give a couple books... At night, I really just want to read my mystery, I want to read my fun books, but if you have one or two really good business books that you could share, what are they?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes. I have a best friend who doesn't know we're best friends. Her name is Brene Brown. I love her so much. And I keep saying on podcasts that we're best friends, she's going to have to figure out who I am to see if I'm a threat to her, which I'm not, but I just really love her. All of her books are great, but specifically for leaders, Dare to Lead is a synopsis of all of them. That's really, really great. And then specific to venture- backed companies there's a book called Venture Deals by Brad Feld that goes into just the basics of here's what you need to know, here's the terminology, here's the process, here's things to look for, here's things to avoid. That was super helpful. And then there's also one also by Brad Feld called Startup Boards that's just what it's about. It's about how to manage, and lead, and really stand at the helm of a startup board and make sure that you're growing it in the right direction. Because as a founder and a CEO, they're your board. It is on you to shape the culture of the board just as much as it is to be on you to shape the culture of the company and that's no easy feat. Probably those three. There's so many. I read so much and I listen to a lot of books so I got a lot. But those are three good ones.

Michelle Brandriss: Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Before we get there, is there anything that I've missed that you want to share?

Lindsay Tjepkema: If you're thinking about starting a business or you're at the beginning of starting a business, one thing that's really, really easy to do is to compare your beginning with someone else's middle or compare your past to someone else's. I was just talking to somebody else this morning about venture- backed versus bootstrapped. They are two completely different things, completely different things. So avoid the temptation. Comparison is a thief of joy. Just don't do it. Try really hard not to.

Michelle Brandriss: For you, any mantra or words to live by? Quotes that you have around the office or around your home that you could share.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes, I have one that found me that I did not come up with. It's boldly be yourself. And it sounds really woo woo but I think... I know I'm not the only one, but I lived for so long being too much of one thing. Something for this group of people and not enough of anything for these people. To this and to that and you're so this. People are really quick to put you in a box or make sure that you know that you are not what they need you to be for a certain situation. Especially those of us who are achievers, and those of us who actually have found success in being a chameleon, that can be really tough to really put your foot down and just boldly be who you are. Because if you fail you will fail as yourself, and if you succeed even better yet, you will succeed as yourself.

Michelle Brandriss: That is great. Thank you. Thank you for that. I'm going to actually make that into a sticker.

Lindsay Tjepkema: I have it up on my wall. It's a big, big, big sign that says, " Boldy be yourself." It's a necessary daily reminder.

Michelle Brandriss: Yes. And actually, we need that reminder quite a bit.

Lindsay Tjepkema: We do, it's true. Lindsay, thank you so much for your time today I really appreciate it. I think that you shared some great insight for our listeners. It was just so interesting to hear how it all happened for you. But congratulations, I am excited to see where Casted is going to go, it's amazing. Thank you so much. It really is an honor to be here, this was a lot of fun.

Michelle Brandriss: Thank you. Thank you to our listeners for joining us for today's episode. And thank you to my amazing producer, Emily Flanigan, she deals with all my shenanigans. Julia Augustino, thank you for the amazing composition that you have made for the podcast. Listeners, feel free to check us out on our social media channels. Don't forget to give us a five- star review. And you can also visit us on Fromthebasementup. com. Thank you so much.


Lindsay Tjepkema is the CEO & Co-Founder of Casted, the only amplified marketing platform, and is where we host our very own podcast! Lindsay has an extensive background in marketing, is passionate about women in leadership and workplace culture, is a podcast host and speaker, and is a mother of 3 boys.

Lindsay started her company just before the pandemic hit; what a time 😅. Today, she takes us through her journey as a marketing leader turned CEO and Co-Founder of a company. She shares how she put her vision into play and where she hopes to take Casted in the future. Listen now!

Today's Host

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Michelle Brandriss

|Founder of Name Bubbles
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Emily Flanagan


Today's Guests

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Lindsay Tjepkema

|CEO & Co-Founder