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Episode 199: Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed Through Partnerships with Daniel Epstein (Part 1)


Fueled by the desire of creating an organization to help entrepreneurs, startups, an Unreasonable Group was born. Daniel Epstein, one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders alongside the likes of Tim Cook & Bill Gates, he’s banking on entrepreneurs and the community he’s built to, slowly but surely, change the world. In the first part of another incredible episode, Adam Stott and Daniel Epstein talk about how Unreasonable Group was founded to help start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Daniel’s unfettered belief in entrepreneurs led him to found and become the CEO of Unreasonable Group – An organization dedicated to supporting an international Fellowship for growth-stage entrepreneurs who are profitably solving global issues. Today Unreasonable actively supports over 200 growth-stage CEOs; channels exclusive deal-flow to hundreds of investors and investment funds; and partners with multinational brands and institutions to discover profit in solving global challenges.

Show Highlights:

  • Two sides of the same story: Market Failures and Market Opportunities
  • What the Unreasonable Group Fellowship does for entrepreneurs
  • How Daniel started his Company
  • Collaborative advantage vs focusing on competition
  • How important is the Community for the whole Unreasonable Group
  • Failure is not a Failure as long as you don’t stop

Links Mentioned:

Big Business Events Members Network
Know more about the Unreasonable Group at unreasonablegroup.com

Transcript:

Please note this is a verbatim transcription from the original audio and therefore may include some minor grammatical errors.

Adam Stott: 

Hello everybody and welcome to the savings podcast, they use tons of you on so far and I’m super excited tonight. I’ve got a great guest, he’s going to be sharing some brilliant stories and experiences, we need to say thing, and he’s had some, so many accolades, and I think the introduction is going to be probably a bit could be a bit long but he’s been named as Fortune Magazine’s top 50 worldwide leaders, which is an incredible accolade. Something that he’s told me behind the scenes, he’s mom’s really proud of which is awesome. And in addition to that, he’s gone out and built a business which we’re going to talk about tonight, which is the unreasonable growth, which 00:46 some incredible things, some really big numbers and been able to raise over 5.2 billion, that’s billion not million pounds in financing for companies. So if you’re a business owner this evening and you’re watching, and you’re looking to get more information on investment or you’re an investor that’s watching you want to understand more about that this is gonna be awesome for you tonight. 

And he’s also generated over 3.2 billion, yes, billion again in revenue across the companies that he’s been a part of, and he’s invested in so he’s got some awesome lessons to say in, and now before we bring Daniel in which he’s here with us this evening all the way from Colorado. I’m just going to say to you tonight that you’ve got a great opportunity to jump in here and pick the brains of somebody that’s been through some incredible journey and his businesses and made sure that you’re engaging tonight.

Say hello to Daniel in the comments, tell us what business you’re in, share this video with somebody who’s interested in business, finance and investing, and I’m really looking forward to a great interview with Daniel tonight. 


So Daniel, welcome. Thanks for joining us all the way from Colorado, how you doing buddy?

Daniel Epstein: 

Doing very well, thanks for having me and everybody tuning in. Thanks for lending us your ears and your eyes and your heart to your minds hopefully for the next little bit here but excited to dig in and your introduction was I’m to kind, I would just say don’t believe any of the headlines. But tonight, we can dig into the real story. 


Adam Stott: 
Okay, awesome. I’m looking forward to that. I mean, do you want to start off with just giving us a bit of an understanding of unreasonable growth. There’s certainly an interesting name that we have a story behind that, and a little bit about the business and a little bit about your background, that’d be awesome if you could share that vicious to kick off tonight.

Daniel Epstein: 
Yeah, happy to be here too. I think it’s a good place to start, which is, do you know everybody who’s listening in to this a favor, which is rationalizes seemingly irrational name. Why do I work with an organization called the reasonable group? It’s inspired by the Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, was where a name come from. He has a lot of brilliant quotes but the one we latch on to is when he said that the reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists and adapt to the world to him. 


Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable person. And if George Bernard Shaw is right, if all progress depends on unreasonable individuals. Then we can’t afford not to bet on the world’s most unreasonable people and then we believe that those are hands down entrepreneurs, right, because as entrepreneurs right. And you know 03:10 we have a curiously warped perspective, right we’re most the world that sees market failures, we see market opportunities. And I think that’s exactly the type of thinking that we need in a world that has so many challenges and so many issues and that the truth is, is we can’t solve them fast enough. So we’re in the business of supporting entrepreneurs who are positioned to profitably solve some of the world’s greatest challenges worth looking at the future health care, energy, food, education, you know, whatever that might be. And we would try to give these entrepreneurs in that unfair advantage. 


And so, yeah, as, as you mentioned, we support just about 250 CEOs, as part of the unreasonable fellowship and, you know, they’ve raised over $5 billion generated more than 4 billion in revenue I think much more important for us so they’re impacting their lives in a measurable way.  Well 530 million people around the world. So happy to dig into some of their stories and there’s tons of lessons you know learn along the route but you know my own path I really came out of philosophy in my University, studying business and dropped out to study philosophy and it helped me question everything that was around me and it gave me this healthy disregard for the status quo and either the desire to reimagine it with what we’re doing at every school.

Adam Stott: 
Well, you know I love that and also around philosophy and I think that’s something that a lot of businesses don’t necessarily understand what is their philosophy about the way they want to run their business, about they want to grow their business, you’ve kind of said that in the name, you know, there’s some philosophy that I’m in the entrepreneurs are successful usually for a reason and that is because they are unreasonable in what they do. I think that’s awesome so how’s that philosophy background helps you to, I mean I really want to dig into the story because a lot of what we’re talking about today is there’s people who are watching tonight, that might be looking to make their first six figure business right, which is hundreds of thousands, there might be people watching tonight either went over that and they’re trying to get to their seven figures and there’ll be some but, you know, building nine figure investments and stuff is huge. And a lot of people want business to be a magic wand, or they want things to go quickly it doesn’t happen that way right. 05:20 


So I’m really interested in somebody who is operating in that in the B column and getting to understand how the somebody is watching tonight. Go and grow and build almost beyond their imagination but we’ll come to that in a bit and how philosophy impacts the business being that’s what you may do and that’s what you studied how have you bought that into what you do? I’ve been really interested to hear about that tonight.


Daniel Epstein: 
Yeah, I mean it’s really the genesis of unreasonable. So when I was going to university, I was out here in Colorado and started out studying math finance and econ and we would go around and people would ask you what you want to be when you grow up in essence, everybody asks you when you started in uni and I would tell this that I want to be an entrepreneur, and their response would be, oh that’s so cool, like what’s your idea, what’s your company, and I had none. 


So do it was remarkably kind of odd, but felt a little bit like a charlatan, and I would go spend the evenings with my journal, 06:22 all these business plans and nothing was sticking. I couldn’t figure out what I want to do and I realized in hindsight, it was the wrong question, because there was one night, I just dropped the other degrees and started studying philosophy, so I’m still 18 right before the end of my first semester, and I’m writing in my journal. And I’ve said, you know, none of these business ideas are really sticking for me. So let me put on my philosophers have and asked myself so what do all entrepreneurs have in common. And I wrote in my journal on one line I said all entrepreneurs design solutions to problems that’s around the next line, well I can choose the nature of the problems that I want to solve I wrote on the last line. Therefore, I’m only going to work on problems that’s worthy of my life’s work. The only thing I knew about entrepreneurship is kind of what you were just mentioning which is it’s remarkably hard. It’s a hard journey, right, in the states, in the US; nine out of 10 companies still don’t exist five years after being found.


Adam Stott: 
07:19 in the UK.


Daniel Epstein: 
So for me it was that kind of philosophical realization that, if I’m going to start a business, the odds are stacked against me. So if I’m going to leverage my time, my equity, my sleep, my reputation into creating a company, why not work on a company that if we succeed you will bend history in the right direction because of the nature of the problems that we went out to solve. So, you know, for me, unreasonable came out of trying to be a young entrepreneur, launching companies that were looking at profitably solving these pressing societal challenges and finding that to be extremely hard and you know I felt like a misfit between two worlds where you have the public sector and the private sector. 


The public sector, I cared about solving the same problems, right, whether that’s food, health, and food access to quality education renewable energy. And I go over there and I’d hang out and I realize I’m a total misfit because I believe that profits are best driver for ingenuity and markets for scale so I’m a capitalist, right. I love working with the nonprofit sector, but I felt like a misfit there and I went to the private sector thinking well these are my people, you know, they get that and I realize I’m a misfit there too, because be although I believe profit is a remarkably powerful tool. That’s how I see it right, a hammer can be used to build a house or tear down a home, you know, whichever you prefer, and I think that capitalism’s most powerful tool in our tool belt. But for me, you know, the reason to get into for profit businesses is profit. It’s to drive, you know, lasting change at scale. And so that was really the genesis of a reasonable was kind of feeling lonely, like a misfit entrepreneur and wanted to seek refuge amongst other entrepreneurs,

Adam Stott: 
just a recap, you know, you saying there about profit being a real tool for being able to use that tool for good. So Daniel, philosophy and you know what was really cool what you were saying that is, I would be willing to bet, and the audience you can tell me to 09:13 pop in the comments, but a lot of people felt like that, you said that I felt like a charlatan, you know, I wasn’t sure where I fit, you know, and I remember my first businesses, it was the same. You know, aspirations, were outside my social group. 09:30 you know, being somewhere else but didn’t quite fit there either and sometimes it’s quite difficult to find your place. 

So why don’t we talk about how you did find your place and then how you want to start unreasonable growth and how that impacted, what happened moving forward?

Daniel Epstein: 
Yeah, they love it. So for me, a reasonable was not designed to be a company. It was quite literally, it was a selfish endeavor, but I felt like this misfit entrepreneur, like what I say they wanted to seek refuge amongst other misfit entrepreneurs, i.e. individuals who were foolhardy enough to believe they can you know quote unquote change the world but so hell bent and so determined they wouldn’t stop until they did and I just didn’t have that community of entrepreneurs thinking about solving problems at global scale. 

And so, if it had existed, I would have applied for it, you know somehow snuck in there or something. But that community didn’t exist at the time and so I had to build it, just to be a part of it I teamed up with a couple friends and we kind of went after it. What was interesting was unreasonable was not intended to be the thing that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It felt truth is it felt too meta. But you were in the business of helping entrepreneurs on the frontlines, but we’re not actually the entrepreneurs on the frontlines ourselves.

It took me a couple years to actually swallow my ego, because I was running when we launched a reasonable I was running two other startups at the same time, and I believed like I’m going to be the company solving the problems on the front lines, there’s a reasonable thing it’s really about community. And what happened is I got addicted to leverage by AI, and not necessarily financial risk. I just realized, right, I can start one or two or three companies. And if I’m really lucky in my lifetime, maybe those will impact, you know, 10s of millions of lives. Or we can be in the business of being the most effective organization in the world that helping those who are doing it right and that’s really what we do. We help entrepreneurs at growth stage development scale what’s working, you know, you might be bringing clean drinking water to 2 million people, it’s profitable. Our question is how we take 200 million people faster. Yeah, it was kind of when it all turned and it took me once again, it took me a few years to like swallow my pride and realize that actually there’s entrepreneurs who are more qualified than I am out there going after these tough challenges but that there was a huge opportunity to bring them together and coalesce a community of support and capital to help them do what they’re already doing better.


Adam Stott: 
Travel was really interesting is probably the last, and I’m noticing a trend, noticing a big trend at the moment, something that I’ve always believed in which is building the right culture in the community, but where I’m seeing people that are having a tremendous amount of success at the moment is in building these types of communities where people 12:16 and they work together. 

Now the typical way of a business owner or an entrepreneur like the typical like looking at an entrepreneur or business owner is you know the way has been painted in the past is you’ve got this person that is ruthless, this person that’s kind of arrogant and doesn’t take no for an answer. And loss its way to success with everything else out the way, you know, one thing I’ve learned without a shadow of a doubt and assessment with a running the business events, and I’ve been working in the coaching the speaking world, exactly how much you more you can be stronger together with the same goals and from the interviews I’ve been in 12:58. You know yourself and a couple of others, communities been one of the topics, 13:05 about community and how that communities flourish, what was the unexpected side benefit of your community rather than building a business, I have 13:15 that, you know, I’ll be interested to know. 

Daniel Epstein: 
Yeah, I love that and it just a comment on one of our partners is Accenture and that up their financial innovation team is a is a guy named Ryan Shanks and how he put it was beautifully said that we always talk about competitive advantage business. He said what about collaborative advantage, because I’m seeing a way more advantage from doing that well versus focusing on competition. And I think he’s exactly right.

For us, you know what we do, if I were to use the verb is we build community. And we specifically build community between entrepreneurs, investors, institutions to profitably solve these global challenges. What we do is build community and in essence, you know we’re an accelerant for trust and serendipity. between the unlikely individuals and ideas that would never normally collide. Right, so it’s completely the heart of what we do. I think what’s been unexpected is, you know, across our communities about 600 mentors, and those folks like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Arianna Huffington, the CEO of Pearson and the founder of WordPress and so on the remarkable individuals, but there’s about 250, as I mentioned, reasonable fellows, so growth stage entrepreneurs, we work with about 1000 sources of capital that the family office, private equity firms venture, capital funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, individuals, what we’re trying to do is build trust across those individuals so that business relationships happen faster, right at the end of the day, yes business is business, of course, right numbers matter, but I would argue that more so than anything, the businesses people. That’s what it’s always been, and the greatness of what we achieve is going to be through the depth of relationships that we hold and so what we’re trying to do is the way we give entrepreneurs that unfair advantage is we give them in essence a kind of a white glove concierge service. Ideally to almost any boardroom they would want access to in the world. Ideally to almost any funder, that would be on their hit list man and of course to one another because you’re entrepreneurs it is remarkably lonely journey. And there are things you can’t share with your board or with your team or oftentimes with your spouse or your partner. 


So one of the you know, the most profound impacts that we have is actually the community that gets forged between the CEOs and one another, where they can drop in and just be real, and just be vulnerable and actually acknowledge what you said, which is like a lot of us feel like charlatans. Right, and you know, there’s no such thing as an overnight wonder. And in fact, even when you have quote unquote made it, oftentimes it’s harder, but 15:53. So, I think it was a beautiful thing we can bring entrepreneurs together, you can drop our guard, be vulnerable, be real with each other and support one another on this journey but it’s all about community at the end of the day.


Adam Stott: 
Absolutely. And, you know, the relationships which are you one of the things that when I sold my calls for a long time is the power of relationship capital, and actually how that can be more important than financial capital because when you have the relationship capital right. You know, and one of the things that encouraged him to do. And again, it seems like a trend, it seems and it sounds Daniel, you see a lot of success with people, you’ve dealt with a lot of successful people, and successful people understand this right. So for people that are building businesses in the beginning, or trying to shortcut a process where they build 5, 10, 15 great relationships that their problems will be answered in the future anyway right, you know, what’s the power of relationship capital the US saying, you know, just did like maybe an example of you know doing a deal or an example of something coming together, a story of where you wanted to get 16:57 but you couldn’t get done but then there was this relationship, and just things change quickly because often say, one person, one opportunity, one chance, one million, one conversation, can change your business right?

Daniel Epstein: 
Yeah I mean, 17:09 that’s always a hard question because it’s like everyday occurrence. 17:15 And every time that it’s almost felt like things were gonna break it was relationships that saved it, I mean, maybe one more thing that I would say just, you mentioned it, you said there’s no such thing as an overnight wonder, just a quick story on that because 17:37 I was on stage at a conference that I probably shouldn’t have been invited to. Just the caliber of people was 17:44 I’m kind of a keynote panel with one of the founders of Pinterest. And this is when Pinterest just took off, so this must have been 2014, I think around that. And so you know, we do this whole spiel and at the end of it, some of the audience have asked the question and they asked the founder of Pinterest, how does it feel to be an overnight wonder? I mean like nobody knew of Pinterest, a year prior now the whole world will talk about. And if you grab the mic from me, 18:13 overnight wonder. I want to be clear, we went bankrupt three times and we started this business 11 years ago before you ever heard about it.

I think part of it it’s just important to acknowledge that if you’re getting into a startup and being an entrepreneur it’s going to be harder than you think. Because nobody would ever do it if we actually knew how hard it was truly going to be, and it was what I found for myself is that the thing that’s gotten me through the really hard times are relationships. And I remember one time where this was a pilot into unreasonable but I’m still a university student. And somebody I worked with as a partner on this pilot program came back with a letter of intent to sue myself and my co-founder. This was a nonprofit organization that we were running and we were students were flabbergasted. 19:07 somebody try to sue us it’s all about, you know, I think oftentimes when there isn’t equity in 19:14.


Adam Stott: 
19:14 never try to sue you than you’re probably ever make it. 


Daniel Epstein: 
You’re probably ever made it which is an important thing. Or, yeah, like it’s inevitable and obviously tried avoid it, but 19:29 existence, especially when you’re young and it’s gonna be tough. So we get that letter, we were scared. We thought that we were getting sued, there’s a letter of intent but we’re young and didn’t know. And I kind of slipped into episodic depression, I wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping for a couple of weeks. But I’m still a student. And so the Dean of the entrepreneurship school, he was a good friend. He’s an entrepreneur, Paul 19:53 called me into his office to catch up. And this is just one relationship 19:57 me up. 


Right, so I come into his office, I look horrible he looks at me and he goes like you really look like shit, and I was like okay thanks Paul. You know I’m a student like 20:06. Anyways, he asked me, he said, what’s going on? I said, you know, 20:12 story, I was playing the victim, you know, we put everything we couldn’t do this, we’re just trying to do good in the world, we’re young students and now somebody’s trying to sue us and we’re gonna lose it. And he looked at me and he said I’m looking at the luckiest guy I’ve seen in months, and I was like Paul, did you not hear anything I said? And he said, yeah no I heard everything you said, because when you 20:29 you haven’t failed, failure is only failure, if you don’t start or if you stop, like so get out of my office and do it even better and he goes in, by the way, we realize that you need to have contracts with partners. He was like that was the whole problem right with the same page of paper. Paul’s definition of failure, I believe that failure is only failure if you don’t start if you stop or if you do something against your ethical fiber. 

Everything else is necessary, do anything worth caring about in the world. So, you know, for me, there’s a lot of examples of where just individual conversations, kind of gave me the energy and boost I needed to you know continue down the decade, journey to kind of get to where we are today because that was back in 2008 right and I very easily could have a reasonable one that exists, I believe, had I not had that conversation. I would have just focused on my other companies. Almost every, you know, of that $5 billion of capital that’s been raised by unreasonable companies. Most of that happens through relationships is the honest 21:30 .

Adam Stott:

If they know you and this is the thing is a lot of entrepreneurs or business owners want to raise money right, we’re going to talk about investment and funding quite a bit, right. Every single one of those fundraising opportunities people invest typically in people. I look at the profit, the business, I look at the numbers, but you know they’re not gonna invest in somebody that they feel that they can trust and I think that massive part of it isn’t it? 22:01 all the time. So when you’re building this business, and you’re now, as you said, you’ve got 5.2 billion pounds worth of investments, right, that’s what you’ve been involved in, and the companies that you’ve arranged investment for them, 3.2 billion in revenue share in sales. How did we go from being a college student, okay, studying philosophy, being a bit confused about where you fit. How you going to grow your business? how did we go from that to then doing our first deal because some people might want their first deal. Where did that first deal come from or the first kind of transactions or how did the wheels get in motion for this business? 22:40 


Daniel Epstein: 
Good point and just a one thing to clarify folks who are listening. I haven’t raised that 5.2 billion that you know that’s been it’s been the fellows we support. Obviously we’ve channeled a lot of that capital into them. Actually you’re now to use it to get the wheels spinning. When I think about entrepreneurship, one of our mentors uses a great analogy he says it’s like riding a bike. Let me be clear. You can’t learn how to ride a bike by reading about it, or by talking about it. You 23:10 the damn thing, pedal, fall over, get back up, pedal, fall over, get back up and ride. Right. And it is beautiful analogy because a lot, a lot of people ask me how do you start. And I know it sounds facetious but the truth is you just start. And then you expect that you will fall over. And once again, failure is not failure, so long as you don’t stop. Right. And those are just lessons learned along the way. So, you know, reasonable right was born out of the ashes of this kind of failed nonprofit experiment where somebody tried to sue us, we close that down. But I then locked the unreasonable Institute around for reasonableness to became a reasonable group. When we started out we had a challenge we didn’t have credibility you have any major partnerships like the ones that we have today, right. So we did.

Adam Stott:
Have that challenge, you know, absolutely.

Daniel Epstein: 

23:58 So yeah, we didn’t have a relationship with Barclays or Accenture or Pearson or Johnson and Johnson or Nike or whoever it was. And I felt like it would just take too much time when we didn’t have the credibility to get those partnerships upfront. So to generate revenue, we needed to come up with something creative, we wanted to first program 2010 for the unreasonable Institute. We had 22 entrepreneurs from 17 countries, come up Colorado for a long period of time for 10 weeks, and with them we were looking at launching new companies.  So this was earlier manifestation we worked with earlier stage businesses. We needed to cover our costs, right. And so, sponsorship wasn’t going to be where we’re gonna do it and we refuse to charge the entrepreneurs. It just went against our belief that we want to be the most entrepreneur centric organization in the world. 

So, how we did it is we built a crowd funding platform. We pieced together a bunch of code and we said we had about 1000 entrepreneurs apply, we said out of these here’s the top 50 and we’re gonna put your entrepreneurial metal to the test. The first, I think is 20, 22 entrepreneurs who raise the cost of attending this through crowd funding, you know, we’ll welcome you into the program, and that was at the same time when Kickstarter was just started. 

It’s actually I went out to New York and Harry, who’s the founder of Kickstarter, met with him, and we sat down and I was telling him all about this, he’s talking about Kickstarter, and he’s like no maybe you should turn that into a business like now I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a business. Little did I know but that’s how we do it right, we just patched together some code. The website crashed a bunch of times but at the end we had a couple 1000 people finance the ability for entrepreneurs to come into the program and that covered our revenue. 

So you know, we weren’t paying ourselves anything. I think at that stage of a company you are eating top ramen or equivalent for your nutritional intake, I probably spend a couple bucks a day on food. Kind of just survive, but I also say at that stage in the startup, like if you’re on to the right thing. The energy of what you’re building is palpable and you can live off of that, or at least for a little while, right. 

So we just scrapped it together we had no permission, we had no credibility, other than a strong desire to create a community of entrepreneurs because it didn’t exist anywhere. I think that’s the first bigger opportunities, you know, our model now, but we still don’t charge entrepreneurs anything we cover all their costs and instead we partner with major institutions. So multinational corporations with governments who they want proximity to these entrepreneurial solutions and technologies that are getting defined the future of a given industry. And so our first one there is not a good story because it’s like impossible to replicate but we had we launched something called unreasonable at sea, and this was an experiment in transnational entrepreneurship. Yeah, you take a mobile healthcare company in Nigeria that has an effective solution relevant to the global south and scaling across continentally, and we we’ve always believed that empathy builds empires. When it comes to startups, the best way to get empathy for market is to go to market. The only go to market strategy is to go to market and so we actually commandeered the wing of a ship sailed about 40,000 nautical kilometers around the globe, and took these 11 technology companies into 14 countries. Now, how do we pay for that? It was different things, we had a great partnership with this organization called semester 27:29 abroad program they own this ship, they were sailing it. That was hard because at one point, Pepsi does a lot of great things but they had talked to me about sponsorship about underwriting the entire thing and, you know, sponsorship like AstroTurf. Everybody knows it isn’t real and it had we been running a program on the future of clean drinking water on sustainable farming practices for commodities that Pepsi uses that yes, we would have partnered with them but in this case it was a marketing thing. 

And so we said, we turned down that money, but with no business model supplemented, and eventually what happened is we brought on three other corporations and we didn’t call them sponsors they were learning partners. So they wanted to learn alongside these entrepreneurs, so we had a Nike foundation, Microsoft and SAP. And I’d say those were the first like big wins kind of to your question. Yeah.


Adam Stott:
And look there’s a lot of people working, maybe don’t think that big. Right, how do you gonna do if they were not Microsoft and Nike, like, that’s what people probably question. How does that happen? 28:38 really interested to hear your thoughts on that, and we’re gonna jump into some questions in a minute but curious right, you know, like how do you undo that deal?


Daniel Epstein: 

Yeah, it’s a great question. Part of it is we built something I think worth caring about, right. It was like so audacious, kind of so bold that like we hadn’t seen anything like it before that, like people want to be a part of that. Like if there’s a certain gravitas, right, with something that I think is that exciting, right, we’re gonna say all around the globe with 11 technology companies going into international markets and experiment, and using business as a lever for poverty relation around the world. Like, there’s enough there, where I think it had some gravity just 29:18.

Adam Stott:
29:20 Did you go in and sell that idea?

Daniel Epstein: 
No, I didn’t go and install it so part of like being an entrepreneur and you know this is putting yourself out there, right, I get that story out like as much as possible. So I was speaking everywhere that I possibly could. And I ended up at a small innovation conference, you know, there may be 50 kind of Chief Innovation Officer type folks there and I gave a talk on the concept of a reasonable 29:49 and what we were building. We built the whole thing we had selected the companies we had the mentors lined up for it and we had no way to pay for it. And this was three months before we’re gonna set sail and I’m maxed out on my credit cards, I’m not you know like me. It was an intense time and I was just honest about it. I just said look we’re, you know, we know this is a remarkably audacious, 30:10 we framed it as an experiment right this is, like, it’s an audacious experiment, but there’s no experiment more noteworthy of our time than this one. 

So, if you want to be a part of the journey. We need you. So let’s go create this together, right. And you can learn alongside of us as learning partners and that one talk landed Microsoft and Nike, because the right people were in the room. And it was enough vulnerability. I think when you are vulnerable.


Adam Stott:
During that moment, did you feel that actually this is my shot, or did you not know?


Daniel Epstein: 
I have no idea. What did the shots had to eventually work. And, in my mind, there was no option of it not working, which is also, you know, that could probably backfire at some point, but I just felt like this experiment like had to get funded. And so just build it and put it out there. Yeah, so that was a great conference.

Adam Stott:
I think what I love, you know, about what you’ve just said is 31:13 Steven from a smaller scale, looking at smaller scale is some of the things that we talk about, some of the things we train people on these is the power of finding your voice. It’s like you’re obviously working with some entrepreneurs on a large scale. At the smallest scale, as somebody who’s just starting a business, sometimes the confidence to find their voice isn’t quite there yet. They don’t have the commerce,  I’m gonna go and speak here, I’m gonna go and speak there, I’m going to speak there or I’m going to get myself out.

Daniel Epstein: 
At the start right.

Adam Stott:
Yeah. I think he’s really interested, you know, you came up with a concept, had no idea how to do it. But you thought you know what if I speak to enough people, I will find that person. Did you believe you find that person? 31:57 


Daniel Epstein: 
No,  I mean, once again like I turned down a significant amount of sponsorship funding from Pepsi, with the belief that we would eventually find the right partners and, you know, that was a little bit blind belief in that sense, but just to your comment, the first 100 talks I gave, even the first like one to one kind of sales meetings accident all my original startups, I was terrified, like, get back to this point like the only way you can learn how to ride a bike is by riding it. Nobody’s gonna, like, talk you through making public speaking easier, but as you do it more and more, and you realize that like, it’s fine. Like, I know how to speak. Just to have a conversation It’s okay, right, you eventually, at least I found I got over this irrational fear, but I used to have heart palpitations, like all the saliva goes away in your mouth, you forget words like it’s.. 32:54 

Adam Stott:
How many people underestimate massively the power of speaking, they really underestimate it they don’t, you know, I’ve got a friend funnily enough from who’s from the US, there’s a speaker, somebody that I’ve worked with, and he works in finance as well, and he built a very successful finance brokerage raising capital, and he did all through public speaking, he just went out and he spoke wherever he could, and a bond he built relationships and he built a very successful business over there. 


And I think this is the thing it doesn’t matter what you do, if you want to grow your business being able to go and speak your message is totally a fundamental success so it’s really great to share that with an audience because in the billions in revenue light in terms of generating that level is, if people want to get to the next level, if you want to get up here, you know you don’t get up here doing what you do when you’re down here, you do all this stuff down here you stay down here, is what you’re going to do to raise yourself up it’s going to make a difference right. Great lesson. 

Daniel Epstein: 
And just one more thing that, you know, when it was much more nerve wracking for me to give a talk, even to like five kids, right. Doesn’t matter who it is just be nervous about it, the pointer that helped me a lot was just be honest with the audience as I get up on stage when there’s five people or 5000 people. And if I was nervous the first thing I’d say is hey you know I’m Daniel have a confession, I’m terrified. You all are imitating as all said, and then you want me to tell my life story in five minutes, I’m gonna try, you know, but I just want to be upfront that I’m pretty nervous, in the moment I did that level of authenticity two things happen is one in the room connects to that public speaking like most all of us are. And so there’s some trust that’s built but also for at least me as a speaker that situation. I was like, great, I got it out of the way now I don’t have to pretend that like I know everything and so on and so forth. I thought that like their strength and vulnerability, then especially on public stages, when it is something that at least I was really nervous about.

Adam Stott:
Yeah, definitely. The more that you can be you, the easier it is because now you’re just like, you know, this is the thing a lot of people sometimes are not comfortable with being themselves. Fair enough. But the reality is if you can just go out there and be yourself and it’s going to come to you the results are going to come. Yeah, we certainly found out, you know, why we trade unreasonable group some of the things that we did along the way. 35:23 some British entrepreneurs without reasonable group I know you’re obviously. 35:28 Can you got any stories about British entrepreneurs you’ve helped a little bit about what you’ve done maybe in Britain that would be awesome. 35:36 

Daniel Epstein: 
We support about 50 companies across the UK right now, so a big handful we actually our offices outside of the US are in London, because there’s so much activity that around these noisy compelling entrepreneurs solving these challenges. So a couple of companies, just some examples to be able to look them up Olio, and their website, olioex.com is the number one, but be categorized as kind of free sharing app. The Apple marketplace, and what they’re doing is, if you go out for Chinese food and we come back home and you have some leftovers, and you’re not gonna get to it but it’s like 36:13 and
you hadn’t eaten it yet, right, whatever that was only if you have this app, you could post that extra food on it, then your neighbors, come by and swing by and pick it up.

It’s a food sharing and kind of household item sharing app, but it’s massive, they’ve shared over just shy of 10 million meals, 9.8 million meals. Huge uptake during COVID, you know a lot of children who went to schools across the UK to get free or reduced lunches, no longer have that. 

And so neighborhoods are kind of coming together they have two and a half million users on the application for the top funded female led companies in England in the history of the United Kingdom, so that’s Olio river simple is just like this killer company, so it’s kind of food waste river simple looking at transportation, Fiona and Hugo powers their husband and wife, who started this company and the husband, Hugo was a racecar driver until he just realized that it wasn’t very good for the planet. 


And this is what he was doing and so they started a hydrogen powered vehicle that we think is one of the most efficient high powered vehicles on the planet, 37:23 wheels gets 300 kilometers to a liter of hydrogen in the car and what’s really cool about hydrogen is the only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe is purified hot water. And so they’re, you know, kind of a wacky Welsh couple, and that they’ll literally drink tea from that, just to make the point that like how clean this transportation is like we have an electric car, and the downside to electric is, you know, charging takes 30 minutes to eight hours depending on how you’re charging and hydrogen you pump it just like gas, right so awesome car company river simple, another company growing underground. This is in London proper, it’s actually just below London literally so they’ve taken World War Two bunkers underneath the streets in London and they’ve converted them into hydroponic and aerophonic farms. So they’re growing microgreens and salads underneath the streets of London, you can live in Tesco but also then upstairs just above them about 33 meters there in the restaurants, you know, throughout the city and it’s just an awesome case point for where farming is going. 


We work with a company out of the US called Aerofarms. And it’s 390 times more efficient than traditional agriculture. So what would take, you know one hectare of what would take 390 hectares of land, they do in one hectare. They do it without any soil and without the need for sunlight so going underground is doing that underneath the streets of London just awesome companies. 

Adam Stott:
That’s sounds awesome.

 

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