I absolutely love interviewing people on my podcast, it’s the one time I get to ask whatever I want and no matter how big a deal you are, you can’t run (well, you can… but it gets awkward). It’s rare that I get to experience things from the other side of the mic.
My good friend and CEO of Square Planet, Brian Burkhart, invited me onto his podcast and he did not hold back! It was fun to take a run down memory lane and reflect on the past few years — which have been an absolute blur.
A little backstory, when I took over Technori I had literally no idea what I was doing and Brian was the one person that knew it and reached out to make sure a) I was good and b) Technori’s mission would continue. He did this by taking me under his wing and with ZERO asks, continued to prepare all of our founders for pitch night (which ensured the product would continue to be unrivaled). He doesn’t know this, but I’m not here without him, and others like him (a subscriber to this letter, Nik Rokop, is also on that short list of supporters I owe eternally).
Anyways, on the podcast we revisit my childhood, early process building years and some of the many lessons I’ve learned from doing over 1,000 interviews — which built the foundation for my business and nearly everything I do.
Self adulation aside, I hope you all take a listen because I think you will find a lot of parallels and it might help some of you that often find themselves fighting the same dilemmas as myself.
Listen to my full podcast with Brian Burkhart here 👉 https://t.co/YqbcbSsbDA?amp=1
Follow me on Twitter @kitun.
Every week I breakdown startup pitches with the added hook that you can invest whether you’re accredited or not (if you don't know what that means, click here).
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Amplio provides employers with AI tools that enable teams to perform at their best.
We talked briefly about this last week — WFH, remote, hybrid... whatever you want to call it is going to have a monster effect on workers (and kids, but that’s another story). To expect people to just go right back to sitting in traffic and having people standing over their shoulder again is a massive stressor — people struggled with this before the pandemic. Amplio is basically creating a digital AI-drive tool that enables companies to read the room, regardless if you’re even in a room. By determining employee readiness and detecting when people are over-worked, they work to prevent burnout and curb stress.
Meet the Founder
Watch my full interview with Amplio Founder Trung Tran here.
Trung has brought 72 products to the market worth a collective $2.2B. Prior to Amplio, Trung started as an intelligence analyst in the Air Force, then pursued an MBA at Wharton before going to Silicon Valley to build microchips that generated $1.2B in revenue. He was a program manager at DARPA’s MicroTechnology Office before starting Amplio.
Trung is a digital inventor. Plain and simple. His career is as distinguished as anyone I’ve ever interviewed. He’s spent his entire career managing tech teams and I have zero doubt he will be able to build and bring this product to market — my question will be can he (and the team) scale it in a fairly competitive market.
Revenue: $2.1M in 2020
Projected $6.6M in 2021, 70% GM as of June 2021
Major pilots with MLB players and the US DoD
Raised $327K with New Dominion Angels, $320K from founders
As far as early success goes, you like a prepaid 3-year contract for $2M. Pilots with MLB and DoD are certainly helpful, as far as creating buy-in and proof of concept. I also love Amplio is founder funded. From a business perspective, i’d expect fat margins — which Amplio has — the real test is whether Amplio can make good on a $6M projection for 2021, which they’re tracking. If they can convert in the hottest market it shows an ability to execute.
Terms & Takeaway
Invest in Amplio here 👉 Term Sheet
Security Type: Reg CF
Pre-Money Valuation: $8,000,000
Investment Goal: $1,070,000
Raised (as of publishing): $115,896
Minimum Investment: $100.00
Here's what I like: I think Trung is as smart as they come. I firmly believe in their mission and with the early success and buy-in, the ball is in their court. Personally, I think its not a question that employees are going to struggle to adapt to post-pandemic work and tools like Amplio will be well positioned to strike as companies spend to compete in the most challenging and competitive hiring environment in history.
Here's what I don't love: The competition is steep. Even before Covid, startups were working overtime trying to solve for employee satisfaction. Personally, I think most of the solutions are a waste of time. I like that Amplio is focused on solving for burnout and providing employees with tools that help them manage workload and production rather than more EQ-focused solutions, like competitors.
Who should invest and why: At $8M valuation, given the current revenue/GM, this is a deal with plenty of upside. The competitive market is worth consideration given that most PEPM models struggle with retention. Amplio is going to need to continue to use product innovation to drive market expansion which is the unknown for Trung and team. I have no question Trung can build great product, but he and the team’s ability to continue upselling early clients will determine its ability to scale the business. If you believe in the mission and believe there’s a huge opportunity for employers to support the mental health needs of workers as a form of retention — the price is right!
As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen.
Invest in Amplio here 👉 Term Sheet
Questions? DM me on Twitter @kitun