StartUp Podcast

StartUp Podcast
The business origin story you never get to hear
Alex Needs Your Help
Jan 12 • 4 min
Ahead of the release of Alex, Inc. on March 28, we’re putting out a curated binge listen of the best StartUp episodes about our company, Gimlet Media. And we want your help. Tell us your favorite Gimlet StartUp episode, and let us know if you have any…
StartupBus Part 5: Friday
Dec 15, 2017 • 39 min
All this week we’ve been following StartupBus, a hackathon on wheels, where a bunch of strangers come together to launch companies in one week, all while on a bus. If you haven’t heard Monday’s episode, start there.It’s Friday, the fifth and final day of…
StartupBus Part 4: Thursday
Dec 14, 2017 • 39 min
Every day this week we’re following StartupBus, a hackathon on wheels, where a bunch of strangers come together to launch companies in one week, all while on a bus. If you haven’t heard Monday’s episode, start there.It’s Thursday, day four on StartupBus.…
StartupBus Part 3: Wednesday
Dec 13, 2017 • 35 min
Every day this week we’re following StartupBus, a hackathon on wheels, where a bunch of strangers come together to launch companies in one week, all while on a bus. If you haven’t heard Monday’s episode, start there.It’s Wednesday, day three on…
StartupBus Part 2: Tuesday
Dec 12, 2017 • 35 min
Every day this week we’re following StartupBus, a hackathon on wheels, where a bunch of strangers come together to launch companies in one week, all while on a bus. If you haven’t heard Monday’s episode, start there.It’s Tuesday, day two on StartupBus.…
StartupBus Part 1: Monday
Dec 11, 2017 • 38 min
This summer, 20 strangers got on a bus headed from New York to New Orleans. For five days, they had one goal: to build and launch companies while on the bus. We’ll be telling this story as it unfolded — with one new episode, every day, over the next five…
Coming Next Week: StartupBus
Dec 7, 2017 • 3 min
This past summer, 20 strangers got on a charter bus headed from New York to New Orleans. For three days they had one goal: Build and launch companies from inside the bus. And then? Compete against each other.Reporter Eric Mennel documented it all. And…
Introducing Story Pirates
Dec 5, 2017 • 23 min
Alex is back in the host’s chair today to introduce Gimlet’s first kid’s show—Story Pirates. It’s a podcast where actors, musicians, and comedians turn stories written by kids into hilarious plays and songs.Alex talked with co-host Lee Overtree about the…
Dear Music Fans… (Season 3, Episode 4)
Nov 10, 2017 • 54 min
When a group of college kids in Florida set out to change the music industry, they did not anticipate how disruptive they would be. Their mission was a noble one: bring an end to online piracy by offering cheap, convenient, and legal access to music.…
The Race for a Driverless Future (Season 6, Episode 8)
Nov 3, 2017 • 27 min
On the last episode of StartUp, we followed the government-sponsored desert race that launched the self-driving car industry. This week, we see what the industry looks like today. You’ve probably heard that Google, Uber, and Tesla are pumping resources…
The Grand Challenge (Season 6, Episode 7)
Oct 27, 2017 • 46 min
In 2004, the U.S. government held a race unlike anything that had come before it. It was called the DARPA Grand Challenge, and it followed a 150-mile route through the rugged Mojave Desert. The participants were cars, trucks, ATVs, and one motorcycle. The…
New Money (Season 6, Episode 6)
Oct 13, 2017 • 29 min
Kik, a chat app popular with teenagers, launched in 2010. Users flocked to it, and within a few years it was valued at a billion dollars. Then a new competitor came on the chat scene: Facebook. When Kik started struggling to grow their revenue and find…
Just Hit Record (Season 6, Episode 5)
Oct 6, 2017 • 57 min
Earlier this year, we asked listeners to call us with questions for Gimlet Founder Alex Blumberg. Alex answered a bunch of them in an episode last season. But one caller’s question was so big, it needed its own episode. Skyler Gronholz had decided to make…
Make China Cool Again (Season 6, Episode 4)
Sep 29, 2017 • 29 min
China is on a mission to upgrade its international reputation. The government doesn’t want people to see the country as just the world’s factory for socks and toys and cell phones. It wants people around the globe to think China is cool. And it’s tried a…
An Announcement From StartUp and Introducing The Nod
Sep 22, 2017 • 42 min
Lisa Chow and Alex Blumberg sit down together to talk about the future of StartUp.And, we introduce you to Gimlet Media’s newest podcast The Nod. Co-hosted by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, The Nod celebrates and explores the multitudes of Black culture…
Sell the Apartment, Keep the Startup (Season 6, Episode 3)
Sep 15, 2017 • 32 min
Jasen Yang gave up the security of a high-paying Wall Street job to launch his company, Polly Portfolio. It’s been three years since then, and Jasen still isn’t taking a salary. It’s put a lot of strain on his family, and made it difficult for Jasen and…
Sex Dot Con (Season 6, Episode 2)
Sep 8, 2017 • 33 min
Gary Kremen owned one of the most valuable domain names in the history of the internet. And then one day, he lost it in the most unusual way. For years, Gary fought to win back his domain “sex dot com.” The legal battle transformed the way the courts…
The Domain King (Season 6, Episode 1)
Sep 1, 2017 • 30 min
StartUp is back for a brand new season, and we’re kicking things off with a story about the competitive world of domains.Reporter Amy Standen brings us the story of Rick Schwartz, who earned the title “Domain King” by building a portfolio of dot com web…
Introducing Season 6
Aug 28, 2017 • 3 min
StartUp returns September 1st with a brand new season. Here’s a preview of what’s coming up in Season 6.And are you looking for more Gimlet in your life? Then click here to view our guide to other Gimlet shows returning this fall.
BONUS — Check Out Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty
Jul 25, 2017 • 38 min
On this episode of StartUp, we’re introducing you to a new show from Gimlet Media. It’s called Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty. The show charts the career of the hip hop executive, from young hustler in the Bronx, to one of the most powerful men…
BONUS — Check Out The Pitch
Jul 20, 2017 • 37 min
Concussions have cast a major shadow over contact sports, from youth leagues to the pros. But entrepreneur Anthony Gonzales thinks he can fix it by putting a gadget in the mouths of athletes. Now he just has to convince investors to put their dollars…
Building The Perfect Cup of Coffee (Season 5, Episode 10)
Jul 7, 2017 • 34 min
Mokhtar Alkhanshali is trying to produce the perfect cup of coffee. And he’s trying to do it with beans grown in the midst of an active war zone in Yemen. Despite those challenges, his company’s first batch earned rave reviews, and sold for $16 a cup at…
Ask Alex (Season 5, Episode 9)
Jun 30, 2017 • 35 min
You called with your questions. Alex Blumberg has your answers—about growth, diversity at Gimlet and, oh yeah, that ABC sitcom that’s currently being made about the first season of StartUp.
How To Invent A New Sport (Season 5, Episode 8)
Jun 23, 2017 • 37 min
Mason Gordon’s dream is to create a new global team sport, something that hasn’t happened since basketball came on the scene in the 1890s. But Mason is determined. He invented Slamball—an amped up combination of basketball and football that’s played on…
Life After Startup (Season 5, Episode 7)
Jun 16, 2017 • 41 min
Jason from Bento started a business that prepared and delivered pan-Asian meals on demand. Lauren and Emma from Dating Ring wanted to reinvent online dating. Mary from Saint Harridan made sharp suits for masculine women and trans men. And Mike moved food…
BONUS - Introducing The Pitch
Jun 14, 2017 • 39 min
Alex and Matt talk to Josh Muccio, the host of Gimlet’s newest show, about his path to podcasting. Then we sample the first half of the latest episode of Josh’s show, The Pitch.
Another Side Of The Story (Season 2, Episode 3 REBROADCAST)
Jun 9, 2017 • 32 min
Hello, there! This week we’re rebroadcasting an episode from way back in Season 2 when we were following Dating Ring, a company that was different from other dating sites and apps because it used matchmakers to help its customers go out on dates. This…
Bug Business (Season 5, Episode 6)
May 26, 2017 • 29 min
Researchers who think about the thorny problem of feeding our growing global population have started to point at one possible solution: bugs. They’re protein-rich and ecologically sustainable—but can bug entrepreneurs get lots of Americans to eat…
Bootstrapping a Better Vaccine (Season 5, Episode 5)
May 19, 2017 • 31 min
Jake Glanville and his small biotech startup are trying to beat big pharmaceutical companies and major research institutions to a potentially game-changing medical breakthrough: the universal flu vaccine.
Running a Family and a Business (Season 5, Episode 4)
May 12, 2017 • 35 min
This week on StartUp we’re listening in as executive coach Jerry Colonna sits down with Diana Lovett, the founder of a socially responsible chocolate company called Cissé Cocoa. In the episode, they tackle something that many founders struggle with—how to…
BONUS - Introducing Every Little Thing
May 5, 2017 • 24 min
Gimlet launched a new podcast this month. It’s called “Every Little Thing”and it searches for the extraordinary lurking in the ordinary. It’s hosted by science journalist Flora Lichtman, who on this recent episode of the show found the extraordinary in…
Friendster: Part 2 (Season 5, Episode 3)
Apr 28, 2017 • 34 min
After a turbulent start and the firing of its founder, Friendster looked like it was back on track. It was still the biggest social network around and its board—which was packed with some of the biggest names in venture capital—quickly assembled a…
Friendster: Part 1 (Season 5, Episode 2)
Apr 21, 2017 • 36 min
In 2003, Jonathan Abrams was sitting atop one of the hottest new companies in Silicon Valley. He and his website were at the forefront of an industry that would eventually be worth more than $400 billion. So, what went wrong?—Ask AlexGot a question for…
You Have to Invent Something (Season 5, Episode 1)
Apr 14, 2017 • 39 min
In 1983 a guy named Stuart Anders invented a toy that would become a huge hit — one of the biggest fad toys of a generation. But the toy world can be treacherous, and Stuart’s big idea left him broke. Now he’s back with a new toy and a surprising ally.
BONUS - Introducing Twice Removed
Jan 13, 2017 • 35 min
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…
Part 7: MAGIC (Season 4, Episode 10)
Dec 22, 2016 • 40 min
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…
Part 6: Anger (Season 4, Episode 9)
Dec 16, 2016 • 62 min
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…
Part 5: Suits (Season 4, Episode 8)
Dec 9, 2016 • 63 min
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…
Part 4: Boundaries (Season 4, Episode 7)
Dec 2, 2016 • 45 min
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…
BONUS - Introducing Gimlet’s Fall Slate
Nov 23, 2016 • 28 min
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…
Part 3: Photos (Season 4, Episode 6)
Nov 18, 2016 • 34 min
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…
Part 2: Workers (Season 4, Episode 5)
Nov 11, 2016 • 28 min
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…
Part 1: Labels (Season 4, Episode 4)
Nov 4, 2016 • 37 min
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…
Shadowed Qualities (Season 4, Episode 3)
Oct 20, 2016 • 40 min
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…
You Can’t Wear a Suit Here (Season 4, Episode 2)
Oct 13, 2016 • 36 min
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…
Diversification of Worry (Season 4, Episode 1)
Oct 6, 2016 • 36 min
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…
Introducing Season 4
Oct 4, 2016 • 2 min
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,…
BONUS - Introducing Heavyweight
Sep 26, 2016 • 30 min
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…
BONUS - Introducing Science Vs
Jul 28, 2016 • 28 min
Alex Blumberg interviews Wendy Zukerman, 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.
2680 Madison Road (Season 3, Episode 10)
Jul 1, 2016 • 45 min
Something is amiss at 2680 Madison Road. In the thriving Cincinnati neighborhood of Hyde Park, the property is sandwiched between several decades-old Cincinnati staples, and a stone’s throw away from an upscale shopping center. The space is huge, the…
Up in Flames (Season 3, Episode 9)
Jun 23, 2016 • 43 min
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…
From the Cell to the Sell (Season 3, Episode 8)
Jun 17, 2016 • 47 min
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…
Happy Ending (Season 3, Episode 7)
Jun 9, 2016 • 39 min
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…
Kitchen Confidential (Season 3, Episode 6)
May 27, 2016 • 47 min
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…
The Runway (Season 3, Episode 5)
May 20, 2016 • 37 min
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…
Dear Music Fans… (Season 3, Episode 4)
May 12, 2016 • 54 min
When a group of college kids in Florida set out to change the music industry, they did not anticipate quite how disruptive they would be. Their mission was a noble one: bring an end to online piracy by offering cheap, convenient, and legal access to…
Pirate Needs Pirate (Season 3, Episode 3)
Apr 28, 2016 • 37 min
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…
Gaming the System (Season 3, Episode 2)
Apr 21, 2016 • 36 min
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…
Almost Famous (Season 3, Episode 1)
Apr 15, 2016 • 30 min
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…
Season 3 Teaser
Apr 8, 2016 • 3 min
Season 3 launches Thursday, April 14th
BONUS - Introducing Sampler (#20.5)
Jan 28, 2016 • 33 min
This week, we bring you a special bonus episode. In episode #20.5, Alex shares Gimlet’s latest podcast, Sampler, hosted by Brittany Luse.**Warning, this episode contains content and language not suitable for children.About Sampler:Sampler brings you the…
#20 Disorg Chart
Jan 7, 2016 • 34 min
As we wrap up this mini-season, Lisa Chow comes back from maternity leave and notices some big changes at Gimlet. And these changes… they aren’t all for the better. Lisa talks to Gimlet employees about concerns over power, accountability, and control -…
#19 Diversity Report
Dec 17, 2015 • 45 min
If you were to walk into Gimlet HQ, there are a few things you’d probably notice right off the bat. First, it’s crowded - like a grungy dorm room. Second, the lighting… it’s not great. Not many windows. Third, it’s white. Really white. 24 of Gimlet’s 27…
#18 Pitch Perfect 2
Dec 3, 2015 • 36 min
Gimlet is growing fast. We have four shows on the air, and several others in pre-production. If we want to grow faster, though, we could use some more cash. Matt and Alex head back into the world of venture capital, deciding whether or not to raise…
#17 Words About Words From Our Sponsors
Nov 19, 2015 • 42 min
Gimlet is starting a new line of business, and it’s a complicated one: Branded content. Branded content is a piece of media (a video, a story, a podcast, etc.) paid for by a company that then has editorial control over the product. Lots of companies have…
#16 The Secret Formula
Nov 3, 2015 • 47 min
Gimlet is making a big, expensive bet. The kind of bet that could make or break the company. And it’s a bet that comes down to one factor: What is Gimlet’s competitive advantage? As the company launches its fourth new show, “Surprisingly Awesome,” we take…
#15 Married To Your Business
Oct 22, 2015 • 35 min
We return to the offices of Gimlet for the start of a new mini-season. It’s been a year since the company launched and things are changing… fast. In this episode, Alex and his wife, Nazanin, wrestle with a huge decision that has implications for both the…
BONUS: But Wait, There’s More!
Jul 16, 2015 • 28 min
A Gimlet update and a special announcement
116 Men and a Baby (S2 Ep10)
Jul 1, 2015 • 37 min
Lessons learned in business and love
Dating Ring Of Fire (S2 Ep9)
Jun 24, 2015 • 29 min
Under pressure, the Dating Ring founders make a big decision
Til Debt Do Us Part (S2 Ep8)
Jun 17, 2015 • 29 min
Lauren and Emma visit the CEO Whisperer
Survival’s a Pitch (S2 Ep7)
Jun 9, 2015 • 31 min
A golden opportunity sows seeds of doubt
Profiled (S2 Ep6)
Jun 1, 2015 • 31 min
In online dating, love is not blind
BONUS - Gimlet’s Newest Podcast (Season 2, #5.5)
May 29, 2015 • 26 min
This week, we take a break from our usual programming on Dating Ring to bring you this very special bonus episode, featuring Gimlet’s newest show.
Playing With Matches (S2 Ep5)
May 19, 2015 • 32 min
Inside Dating Ring’s Matchmaking System
Save The Date (S2 Ep4)
May 12, 2015 • 30 min
Save The Date (S2 Ep4) by Gimlet
Another Side Of The Story (S2 Ep3)
May 5, 2015 • 33 min
Welcome to fundraising
Grow Big Or Go Home (S2 Ep2)
Apr 30, 2015 • 34 min
Inside the Startup School Y Combinator
Origin Story (S2 Ep1)
Apr 23, 2015 • 34 min
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…
#14 Where We Are
Feb 14, 2015 • 39 min
An end and a beginning
#13 Fake It Til You Make It
Jan 31, 2015 • 29 min
Episode 13 addresses a question that has been dogging us since the company’s beginnings: Are we a technology company or a content company?This question led to months of debate. Many voices weighed in on either side, including Marco Arment, the lead…
#12 Burnout
Jan 18, 2015 • 26 min
Recovering from a breaking pointThanks to everyone who took our listener survey last week. To see the results, visit:
#11 Know Your Customer
Jan 4, 2015 • 25 min
Lessons on building an audience While working on this episode, we realized we want to know more about our audience. So, we created a survey. It takes about two minutes to complete, and you can find it at We would be very grateful if…
#10 Mixing Art And Business
Dec 22, 2014 • 30 min
Lessons on outgrowing your business plan
#9 We Made A Mistake
Dec 6, 2014 • 28 min
Gimlet Media addresses a company mistake.
#8 Our New Show
Nov 22, 2014 • 27 min
Welcome, Reply All
#7 How Listeners Become Owners
Nov 8, 2014 • 33 min
Are you ready to invest in Gimlet Media?
#6 How To Value Your Startup
Oct 25, 2014 • 32 min
It’s all about your story.
#5 How To Name Your Company
Oct 13, 2014 • 27 min
Choosing a favorite is only the beginning.
#4 Startups are a Risky Business
Sep 27, 2014 • 28 min
StartUps are a risky business, but there’s lots of reasons to write a check.
#3 How To Divide An Imaginary Pie
Sep 17, 2014 • 31 min
How much of your company should you give up when you bring on a partner?
#2 Is Podcasting the Future or the Past?
Sep 5, 2014 • 25 min
Dreaming big is harder than you’d think.
#1 How Not to Pitch a Billionaire
Apr 5, 2014 • 28 min
This is a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one. It’s called StartUp. In episode one, Alex Blumberg botches his pitch to Silicon Valley billionaire Chris Sacca.