On the Cusp of Going to Market, This Founder Gets Crucial Advice: Wheyward Spirit Ep. 2

Emily Darchuk, the founder of Wheyward Spirit, meets with her mentor, Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, who helps her make a pivotal decision.


The heroes of the Founders Project: the star entrepreneurs offering their hard-won wisdom to the next generation of founders they’re mentoring.

If you are a founder and would like to be considered as a mentee in our Founders Project, here’s how to apply.


Inc. Founders Project
with Alexa von Tobel

New Episodes Every Wednesday


Inc. Founders Project with Alexa von Tobel

New Episodes Every Wednesday


Episode 21

Max Levchin: How to Build a Transparent Business

After graduating college, Max Levchin cofounded PayPal with Peter Thiel and others. Levchin went on to launch fintech company Affirm, providing consumers a new way to buy with instant point-of-sale loans.

Episode 20

Eric Senn: How to Be Scrappy

Cousins Eric Senn and Jason Senn created an online peer-to-peer marketplace where literally anyone can open a store from a phone in three clicks. They’re hoping to decentralize the $3 trillion global retail market, and with backers like Alex Rodriguez and the former CEO of Neiman Marcus, they’re on to something big.

Episode 19

Daniel Schreiber: How to Make Customers Happy

The average age of an insurance company is 125 years old–that’s older than antibiotics, the internet and mobile phones. So Daniel Schreiber and his co-founder built Lemonade, a millennial-friendly insurance startup that’s now a certified FinTech unicorn.

Episode 18

Brian Chen: How to Turn a Pain Point into a Business

Brian Chen used to take phone calls from his fiancé in his company’s stairwell. He got sick of dealing with the major drawback of open-office floorplans–a lack of privacy–and built a soundproof privacy pod that top companies like Google and Apple use in their offices today.

Episode 17

Bobbi Brown: How to Be Yourself at Work

Bobbi Brown didn’t set out to build a billion dollar makeup business, but after creating a line of lipsticks she quickly got acquired by Estée Lauder. Bobbi talks about why being able to wear jeans to work matters and how she adapted to being an employee post acquisition.

Episode 16

Box’s Aaron Levie: How to Get Through the Tough Stuff

Aaron Levie got Mark Cuban to become his first investor after a cold email, dropped out of college, and took Box to IPO glory. But the journey wasn’t without hardship.

Episode 15

Hinge’s Justin McLeod: How to Be Vulnerable

Justin McLeod’s offline romance helped build his vision for Hinge, one of the world’s most popular dating apps today. He shares how is company got acquired, and why social media is the new smoking.

Episode 14

Misha Nonoo: How to Know Your Customer

Founder of eponymous Misha Nonoo shares her evolving business model and how she found success designing for sustainability, not for what’s trending.

Episode 13

Sweetgreen’s Jonathan Neman: How to Build Community

Jonathan Neman and his two co-founders met when they were freshmen at Georgetown. He shares why their inexperience helped them innovate and expand quickly.

Episode 12

Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine: How to Achieve Your Goals

Leandra Medine started fashion website Man Repeller when she was just a junior in college. She shares the triumphs and hardship of building a successful media company during the height of social media.

Episode 11

Framebridge’s Susan Tynan: How to Maximize Every Minute

Susan Tynan started Framebridge out of a personal need: she couldn’t find a framing shop that wasn’t confusing or expensive. Framebridge now has $82 million in funding, and Tynan shares how she got there.

Episode 10

GOAT’s Eddy Lu: How to Built Trust With Customers

Co-founder Eddy Lu went through years of leading failed startups and business projects to finally launching the world’s largest digital sneaker marketplace, GOAT.

Episode 9

Zola’s Shan-Lyn Ma: How to Achieve Product Market Fit

Co-founder Shan-Lyn Ma was Gilt’s first product person. She went on to transform the competitive wedding planning industry through her fast-growing startup, Zola.

Episode 5

Danny Meyer, Union Square Hospitality Group

Chances are, you’ve experienced Danny Meyer’s brilliance. He’s the founder behind Union Square Hospitality Group, which holds a remarkable 28 James Beard awards and is responsible for Shake Shack, which now has over 250 locations worldwide. Meyer opens up about what he looks for in new hires, how he took the leap into the food world, and shares his scariest moment to date (spoiler: getting punched in the face by a diner).

Episode 4

Brynn Putnam, MIRROR

Brynn Putnam is no stranger to building businesses. In 2010, she started Refine Method, the award-winning boutique fitness studio. Now, she’s the Founder & CEO of MIRROR,  tapping into the $14 billion dollar home fitness market with a connected fitness system that streams classes to users in-home, all via (you guessed it) a mirror. Putnam shares how she came up with the idea and built her first prototype, the surprising range of users who love the platform, and how her professional dancing career makes her a stronger CEO.

Episode 3

Howie Liu, Airtable

Editor’s note: Airtable is a sponsor of the Founders Project with Alexa Von Tobel podcast and of Inc.com.

Howie Liu built his first company at age 20 and sold it to Salesforce just a year later. The second time around, he built Airtable. It’s already valued at over a billion dollars, which puts in the rarified group of unicorn tech companies. Liu shares how he’s found success via a slow and steady approach, his aspirations to become the next great tech company, and why he prefers farming metaphors to the wartime ones so often used by entrepreneurs.

Episode 2

Jimmy Chen, Propel

Founder of Propel, Jimmy Chen, is working to build anti-poverty software. With their first product Fresh EBT, Propel is using technology to transform the experience of using food stamps for millions of Americans. Chen explains how he’s building Propel at the intersection of social good and profit, his above-and-beyond approach to gathering user feedback, and how he plans to expand his team.

Episode 1

Jenny Fleiss, Jetblack

Co-Founder of Rent the Runway, Jenny Fleiss shares when she had her “aha moment” for her new venture Jetblack, what it’s like to start a company under the umbrella of Walmart, and why shopping via text is so sticky for consumers. Plus, learn what motivates her for the week ahead.