Found In The Rockies

Susie Lira-Gonzalez & Thomas Cotter (INDX) \\ Curated content for continuous learning

July 27, 2022 Les Craig Season 2 Episode 25
Found In The Rockies
Susie Lira-Gonzalez & Thomas Cotter (INDX) \\ Curated content for continuous learning
Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, I talk with co-founders who deliberately relocated their early stage startup to the great State of Colorado. They are on a mission to curate learning paths for all of your interests. No more Google searches or expensive online courses. The co-founders of INDX  - Susie Lira-Gonzalez & Thomas Cotter,  are helping experts and tastemakers curate the best articles, podcasts and newsletters to help you quickly level up your interests and knowledge. 

Here’s a closer look at the episode:

  • Early days and how Susie and Thomas met
  • From big tech to the startup world
  • Creative bootstrapping strategies during COVID
  • Notre Dame to Denver
  • The original vision
  • How INDX is different from traditional ways to learn
  • Value in curated content
  • Who were the early adopters
  • Early mistakes - what didn’t work
  • Challenges for an early-stage startup
  • Hitting the pain point
  • Getting creative with limited resources
  • Thinking about how to raise money
  • What makes them a winning team
  • Importance of trust
  • Learning Paths
  • Calling all curators
  • Why curated content is so valuable
  • What is on Susie and Thomas’s INDXs



Susie LinkedIn: 

Susie Twitter: 

Susie TikTok: 

Thomas LinkedIn: 

Thomas Twitter: 

INDX LinkedIn: 

INDX Twitter: 

INDX Instagram: 

INDX Facebook: 

Thomas 00:00

In a world of abundant content that's getting more and more exponential, that curation becomes a lot more powerful, right. And so those, tastemakers, those, this is worth your time this isn't, we believe is going to become even more valuable over time. And

Susie 00:16

Then for the consumer, specifically the mid-career, like young professional when you are battling for time with or you're going through a major life event, whether that's like getting married, buying home, helping care for an elderly loved one, you're really strapped for time. And if you can go to a trusted source to continue to level up on the topics that you care about. With disposable income, you'd pay $5 to continue to have that learning path curated for you. So we're super excited about that.

Les 00:55

This is Found in the Rockies, a podcast about the startup ecosystem in the Rocky Mountain region, featuring the founders, founders and contributors, and most importantly, the stories of what they're building. I'm Les Craig from Next Frontier Capital. And on today's show, we have two co-founders who deliberately relocated their early stage startup to the great State of Colorado. They are on a mission to curate learning paths for all of your interests. No more Google searches or expensive online courses. Today we are going to talk with the founders helping experts and tastemakers curate the best articles, podcasts and newsletters to help you quickly level up your interests and knowledge. Meet the co-founders of INDX that's INDX, Susie Lira-Gonzalez and Thomas Cotter. Welcome to the show, Susie and Thomas. So great to have you on together.


Hi, Les. It's good to be here and see you again. I know, it was May when we last saw each other.

Thomas 02:00

Thank you so much for having us.

Les 02:02

Yes. Yeah, Tom, great to meet you. I Susie and I connected actually at a startup event in Denver. I was so excited to meet her and learn what you're building at INDX. We'll get into that in a bit because there's actually some relevance is to podcasting, frankly. So that's, that's an exciting piece to feature. But to start off, why don't I want to hear a little bit about both of your backgrounds, and how you met and how you came to become co-founders in this really exciting up and coming startup?

Susie 02:35

Yeah, for sure. So I'll start here. So I have a background in mechanical engineering. So I studied that did that earlier in my career. And then was doing that. And it was I was literally in the nuts and bolts building products like build, designing, building, shipping all of it. And it was really fun. But I didn't understand like contextually like earlier in my career, some of the business side of things. So I returned to graduate school at Notre Dame to learn more about business. And that's actually where Thomas and I first crossed paths. And so we did this in graduate program, although different years. And then we ended up going to work in technology consulting together for a couple more years. And so we were traveling a lot together, working together with clients, and realize like, hey, like we actually worked really well together. And we would always riff on different ideas. And then the pandemic hit, and we were workshopping like different things to do. And I actually convinced Thomas and his wife to move to Denver. And so they're out here. Now we're building this startup. But that's a little bit about my background and how we got connected. But I'll hand it over to Thomas to share a little bit about his

Thomas 03:46

You make time sound so linear when you say it like that, but

Les 03:50

It always is right? Yeah, timelines are always linear.


Exactly. I'm, I'm originally from the East Coast, in a town called Acton just outside of Boston. Not very well known other other than being between Concord and Lexington. And we like to joke that Concord and Lexington get all the fame from the Revolutionary War and Acton got none. So that's where I'm from, and its claim to fame that it has no claim to fame. I studied Economics and Spanish in college, and I found a lot of my classmates were interested in finance and Wall Street, and I had one internship and I was like, I don't think this is for me. And I, around the same time got very interested in data analytics and data science, which is how I ended up at the same grad program as Susie, kind of a technical background kind of a business background, very interested in entrepreneurship startups in tech. And we went into tech consulting. Basically, what Susie and I would do is help big companies figure out how to get value out of their data at a high level, right, you know, building products, analytics-focused products to improve experiences for customers, make them more efficient, that kind of thing. And then, as Susie alluded to, as we were building all this stuff for other companies, we were always chatting about problems in our own lives, things that we could make better for ourselves. And Susie didn't like a lot of my ideas except for what eventually became INDX. And we've been working on that together here ever since then. 

Les 05:17

Very cool. And you mentioned this, this this sort of this company that were you were doing sort of consulting work for it was that that was Avanade. How do you say it? 

Thomas 05:28

Avanade? Yeah, so Avanade I don't know it's owned by a center in Microsoft. So it's a JV it's basically a centers arm for building out Microsoft focused tech. And then I had a brief stint at Ernst and Young doing something very similar. So that big tech consulting very opposite of a startup, but a lot of transferable learnings in terms, of kind of going from zero to something with a product.

Les 05:55

Certainly, and for both of you, I mean, to be working at a firm like that; stable job, I imagine pretty cool projects, cool work that you're working on, like, what is it that pushes you over the edge to say, we're ready to do this, we're ready to jump out of the airplane, and you know, and free fall into this crazy new thing, this new startup opportunity? What did it

Susie 06:17

Yeah, so I think it was a variety of things. One being in a global pandemic, and realizing like what you really enjoy doing different priorities, family, the lifestyle that you want to have. And we were learning a ton in the job that we did have. But as anything goes with big companies, you kind of have a lower a slower rate of learning. And with startups, it's like always learning something new every single day and seeing like, faster time to results. And so for me, specifically, I really enjoyed that I could go into a startup and really, like whatever we wanted to do, we could execute and build like that day, like that week, and we wouldn't have to wait to get results, like, forever. So I really enjoyed that element of it. And then the flexibility to like go from vision to execution and building a team like we have that's been really rewarding. We actually have the team coming out to Denver next week. So we're excited to see all of those things go from pure ideas to execution in our building. Would you add anything to that, Thomas?

Thomas 07:20

Yeah, I think the thing, taking a different angle, I think the first part is, you know, working on something that's really personal to you, right, solving a problem that you personally care about. And for us both Susie and I get very excited about learning and just making learning easier. Not necessarily education. But if you're motivated to learn it's a beautiful time to be alive and but we think we can make it better with what we're doing. So I think that motivation, and then from kind of taking the leap standpoint, because there's the pandemic, we're both able to save some money. Susie is definitely scrappier than me. She had bought a house and was renting out rooms to make money because we've spent a little time not making money. I'm, I'm kind of

Les 08:02

That's a new bootstrapping strategy. I've never heard of that one. But that's a good one.

Thomas 08:05

Yeah, she she doesn't give me She doesn't give herself enough credit. But yeah, Susie was making no money renting out rooms in her house when she bought like a 2% interest rate, in like 2019 or whatever, 2020. And then I'm cheating a little bit because I'm married, and my wife has a job. So I saved up as much as I could. But Susie is definitely more more hardcore than I am in that regard.

Susie 08:29

Yeah. We all have to get creative with the resources that we have. And so I was like, Oh, I'm seeing this like, thing happening in the market where interest rates are low. I have a bunch of friends moving to Denver, why don't we just like all live together. And I was still at a point in my life where I could do that. So it made sense. And it worked out. And now it's a fun story to tell.

Les 08:49

Well, and I love I love how you said that to Susie, being creative with the resources that we have. Because I think a lot of times, especially in our region, founders underestimate the importance of that, you know, we all have skills, abilities, resource limited resources, but especially at the bootstrapping stage, right? I mean, you this is how you've gotten INDX off the ground.

Susie 09:12

Yeah, absolutely. And to Thomas's credit, he did take the leap first. So he left his full time stability in April of 2021. And then I about a year ago, around June, July of last summer, so we've been at it for a full year. And it's amazing the progress and pace you can keep when you're 100% focus is on building. 

Les 09:35

Yeah, I want to we got to dive into INDX soon. But before we do, there's one thing I there's one detail of the story that I really want to peel back a little more and that is, you know, so to go from Notre Dame, which by the way, little little Les Craig trivia, it was always my lifelong goal. To go to Notre Dame I ended up going to West Point instead and I thought maybe someday I'll go back for grad school, but I didn't so maybe maybe someday. No I'm never going back but a huge Notre Dame fan go Irish. But how? How do you How does the path go through Notre Dame and end up in end up in Denver? I mean, that seems kind of unique to me.

Susie 10:12

Yeah. So I'm actually originally from Colorado, I grew up in a small town in the southeast corner. So super rural have, I've always thought about things that like, when you're trying to start a company and solve a real problem to Thomas's point, it's like, there's so many things in this world that you can spend all your time and energy fixing. And rural access to Wi Fi is one of my because I grew up in a small town, and got after like doing technology, consulting COVID, I decided, and I've lived all over the world, I wanted to come back to Colorado and the Rockies, specifically, because I know of the great balance that one has here between having resources available and community, which is super important. And then access to of course, the great outdoors. And then I knew Thomas like loves skiing, loves the outdoors is kind of really enjoys the wilderness. And so it was not a hard sell, after they came and visited and showed them all the like bells and whistles. And so that's why we ended up ultimately building here. But I mean, it's you can add to it from your perspective as well.

Thomas 11:17

Yeah, the one thing I'll add with that is, so I lived in Seattle for about three years out of school. So you know, in a way you I'd say like, you know, a major tech hub, or whatever, you know, you can't walk down the street without meeting five or six, Amazon and Microsoft product managers is kind of the joke. But after COVID, and as we were starting the company, we I think, you know, everyone kind of talks about remote work really changing things. And we took a look about where we wanted the company to be set up and based out of and I think Denver made a lot of sense for us. And I think it's proven out, we have been able to get involved in the local community here. Everyone's incredibly helpful. People love coming here and visiting or are stopping through to go skiing or biking or whatever. So I feel like you get the benefit of living here without any cost from a maybe a an early 2000s contrast where you know, you want to be in a in a tech hub, I really think Denver is up and coming. And I don't think it's that much of a secret anymore. 

Les 12:23

Good pitch, good pitch on Denver. We hear that a lot, though. So it's kind of there's some consistency. It's not just a pitch. It's it's reality. Yeah. Cool. What…would tell me take me back to the origin story. And I mean, you're you're you're only a little over a year in, I guess. So take me back to the origin story I imagined, like kind of vision hasn't changed a lot from that. Maybe it has I mean, maybe I'm over assuming here. But tell me tell me about the original vision and kind of how the company and the playbook has evolved?

Thomas 12:51

Yeah, for sure. I can start and Susie can let me know. Let me know what I'm missing. You know, it's funny you the podcast comes at a fun time for us because it is changing right now. I'll leave that as a cliffhanger for what we started with. But Susie and I are both in consulting. And like the super quick idea of what the idea for INDX was was Pinterest for learning, you know, save, organize and share the podcast articles, videos, Twitter threads, you use to learn to share within your network, right. So we were just super excited about all of the great content that was being produced and how we could build a tool that could lower the access for people to be able to benefit from that, especially when so many platforms will take your time and attention. We wanted to build something from the bottoms up where you can really get benefit out of. And so we built you know, Susie figured out how to build a like a low code tasks. And we had a little beta community and a low code app, which is fun. And then Marlin, who's a core member of our team has been along there since the beginning. helped out we built an iOS app that let you save content, and then share it with friends. And it worked well. We got engagement. A lot of people have really liked our collections, which are kind of like Pinterest boards that you can have for health or product or, you know, whatever you're interested in and organizing content around. But the big insight we've found is most of the market, most of our users were really looking for the work to kind of be done, right. They didn't want to start from scratch with a Google search or searching on Spotify for fasting or product management or what the hell is web three, or crypto, that kind of thing. They wanted to kind of tap into somebody who's done the work and access the highly engaging content that's being created in a curated fashion where you can really just open it up and learn something which is kind of the vision for INDX now much more closely associated between I'm interested in something which the learning path to go to zero to one or one To on a subject that's important to me personally or professionally, and that's kind of what we're playing around iterating with right now.

Les 15:08

Very cool. And Susie, I remember you telling me I mean, I immediately identified with this because I said, you know, typically, if you're meeting, you know, MBA students or folks that want to do internships at VC firms, they're like, how do I learn more about being a VC? How do I, and I, like, we all have our lists of things, right? Like, oh, I can name them off. But it's like, there's no place where I could just point people and say, check out my INDX, right? I mean, that's, that's basically, yeah, you know, simple way of saying what you're what you're doing, right? Yes,

Susie 15:40

Correct. And over the last couple of months, we've had some great milestones, we launched on Product Hunt with that exact messaging, when we were talking in May, Les, and then we were the number two product of the day on product. So lots of traction, people coming in, advocating for us and really enjoying that. And to Thomas's point, the key insight is that as adult learning evolves, you have that spectrum of range, right, you can, on one end, you can learn from Twitter University, or YouTube University. And on the other side of the spectrum, you can go to an MBA course. And you can pay 1000s, or you can take a Coursera. But the big opportunity or gap is somewhere in the middle, where you want to be able to listen to your podcast to learn more about venture or entrepreneurship, from the best in the business. And to do that, we can curate the content for people that are trying to break into VC or entrepreneurship, and give them a tactical learning path to get there. And then it becomes less intimidating for somebody having to spend hours on end and like, maybe spend time on the wrong content, we can fast track that pace of learning by providing those learning paths. And then as we start to layering curators, or like thought leaders into the fold, they can start to share and dig deeper with their individual audiences, if they can share their list but in a more structured curated way.

Les 17:10

What what what would what do learning institutions think of this? Like, have you gotten any perspective from like, you know, colleges, universities, or like, what, what I would just wonder what the sentiment is towards this approach to learning. Because when I think about young people, I would think this totally identifies with how they want to learn. What about the people who say, this is how you should learn? What do they think?

Thomas 17:34

You know, it's a really good question. I, I think that from our chats with users that, you know, there's a couple of different options that can make sense, depending on the place you are in your life, right. Like I think there's a place for structured edge, acute education, you know, getting a degree that makes sense for you having a classroom environment, a credential, you know, some experience between 18 and 22, that you look back on really fondly, like they're selling something a little bit differently. And we definitely have our problems with those institutions, sometimes thinking about the incentives. But for us, I think and maybe this is just where we're starting out, you know, the big opportunity is more competing with somebody doing it on their own, right. Like, our core beachhead audience is a young professional, you know, maybe even mid career professional, who's really time strapped and curious, right. And the alternative a lot of times isn't necessarily an MBA or going back to school, but doing nothing right or wasting time and not getting the bang for their buck and the content they spend time on. Right. And so I guess that's kind of the the blue ocean we see right now. And I think from an institution standpoint, there's if we can get it really working at scale, there's some interesting partnership angle there to where maybe we can engage our content or how we're providing stuff in a way that after school people can kind of have that continuous learning mindset. Once they leave, whatever they were studying,

Susie 19:07

in a less structured way to like we provide enough structure to where it's still fun and environment inviting, versus having to sit down in front of your computer and learn in this like old school traditional way of just doing that rather, like if you have this curated way like path, you can have an article, you can have a podcast, you can have a video, depending on where you are in your life. So if you have a 30 minute commute from Denver to Boulder, you can just continue on that learning path to learn about leadership or product or whatever the topic is that you're interested in. You can pick up where you left off based on the medium that makes sense for you right then and there because we all want to continue like we want to continue to learn, but sometimes just the flow of our life doesn't make sense. Like, oh, I can't read an article when I'm driving but I can listen to it a piece like a podcast while I'm doing that. 

Les 20:00

That's one of the really super unique, I think really cool approaches that you have for sure. Because we all live, you know, nowadays increasingly more and more busy lives, there's more and more content available, but it's like to have it curated. Is is is brilliant. Like it's, it's, it makes it simple for me to focus on what I want to learn about based on what I'm doing and where I am. And, you know, just the environment.

Thomas 20:23

Yeah, one thing. Like, for example, there's a podcast called “Invest Like the Best” that you may have heard of, that I'm, you know, I've learned so much from that, which if you really take a step back and think about it, you know, 45 ish minutes a week, that kind of impact and understanding the business world or investing or you know, entrepreneurship, from that there's a ton of value, right? So when we think about curation, like, it can't just be like, go look at this, but it's kind of like, look at this in this order to learn this specifically. And, you know, if you think about walking in an art exhibit, they show you like, check this out. This is the context, this is kind of how you can learn about it, or the theme of this versus, you know, here's the internet. And you can find my cousin's finger painting next to a Monet and it's up to you to decide what is worth your time and what isn't.

Les 21:18

Exactly. And Thomas, you mentioned, the coining of the core beachhead, these young professionals the curious Can you take it one step further, and just kind of help us understand like, who were some of the first customers? And how did you? How did you get these early adopters to use the platform? And? And how is how's the growth been to date? Of just usage and building community?

Thomas 21:41

Yeah, it's a great question. Early on, it was a lot of friends of friends, I guess you could say, like the friends who are willing to try your app that sucks. And then hope finding, finding their friends who there is actually kind of a fit with the problem that we're solving. Right. So I think a lot of our friends were kind enough to try it and tell their friends about it. And that's really where we caught on to that early community. And then from there, we we've played around with a lot of organic content on our own, like Twitter, we have our own podcast, that kind of stuff. We even messed around with Instagram ads and Twitter ads just to kind of run these experiments. But where we found the most success honestly, is being on podcasts, ourselves. And then newsletter ads, right? Like our people are kind of already curating themselves in a weird way. Like opting in to specific newsletters, listening to podcasts where learning occurs is where we found the most, like, I guess, like channel market fit with what we were what we were trying to share a message about.

Susie 22:50

And I will also layer on the things that didn't work. 


Thank you, Susie. Yeah, I'll make it make it real. Yeah,

Susie 22:59

For comedic relief to, um, so early on. We were like, oh, like, we identify as like lifelong learners. And we're curious. And we hosted some like scrappy meetups, and we're just like, on meetup locally, or and online, to connect people that identify as lifelong learners. And it was great, like, had a ton of reservations online. And then we ended up hosting these and going to them, and quickly realized that the term lifelong learner resonates with an older demographic, which is awesome. It's like, who are retired that are like avid researchers, and readers and want to keep their minds sharp, but not necessarily very tech savvy. And so I love the spirit of lifelong learning. And I want to be like them one day, but for building a tech startup, there was a slight disconnect. So be changed your marketing language, a slightly from those learnings as well.

Les 23:56

Beginning of life lifelong learners versus end of life lifelong learners. Yeah, I get it. I get it. That's great. Thank you for sharing that. What other what other challenges? You know, I think, especially it's great to have a company. You know, it's probably one of the earlier stage companies we've actually had on the podcast. And I think it's great to feature you in this region, kind of a year out, you know, mostly bootstrapping. What other challenges have you faced, like what other for the founders listening, you know, how can they empathize with kind of your journey and some of the challenges because it's, it's not all rainbows and unicorns, right.

Thomas 24:33

I think it's a really good question. And actually, I love I love you asking it because I do think there's kind of a hole in the content ecosystem around this. There's a really funny Twitter thread I forget the name Susie may remember the guy who shared it was like, I'll give you a give me a piece of startup advice, and I'll give you the opposite and how it didn't work. Right. And so it's like, there's a lot of these kinds of platitudes. I think the thing that I personally think about the most and struggling is interpreting the data we're seeing and understanding if we're on to an intense enough pain point with our product and our messaging, right? Like we there's kind of a messy middle of having engagement, having retention, people signing up and enjoying it and telling you about it. We're not monetizing yet. But we're going to start doing that as well. I was like, Is this enough that we should be seeing right now? Or should we be seeing more, which might prompt us to go in a new direction? So I think like, that's the big thing that I contemplate a lot is like, We're not dead or an IPO yet. So it's like in that middle, how do you navigate the results you're seeing and what people are telling you?

Les 25:43

That's great. I love that, that, that set up the chasm of death between death and IPO, it's, yeah, it's a it's a lot. It's a big rage.

Thomas 25:52

I'm definitely being hyperbolic, but like, it's just kind of, like, you know, like, oh, this retention seems good. But is it good, right? Like, these click-through rates seem encouraging. But should we see more like that kind of decision making? 

Les 26:05

For sure. And as you grow, it only gets it gets more challenging, right. Like, especially like, you know, I think a lot of folks underestimate the challenge of, of growing, you know, if you're, if you're hitting 100% year over year growth, like when you go from, you know, $10k in ARR to $100k in ARR. Like, that's not that significant, but to go from $100k to a million or a million to 10 million, like, it's just it's more overwhelming, the bigger you get, and that's across all all areas of growing the business. Right. So

Susie 26:36

yeah, exactly. To answer your question, as well, Les I would say that some of the other challenges have been just in general, probably what other early stage startups have faced as well, with like hiring, it was really tough over the last year, and thankfully, we found really good talent amongst it. But it was definitely a lot of conversations, a lot of funny calls as well, I think I had this one guy that I was interviewing show up and was like, Oh, one second, like I'm putting on a t-shirt. And so and, and so that was interesting and definitely learnings, learnings there. And just figuring out all the things of like any anything, you have to just figure out with early stage, when you're strapped for resources, you just have to get creative. So figuring out all of the marketing channels, figuring out like, the only way to learn is by doing it. And so now we have some of those those wounds or scars to know how we would approach it for the next time around or even like as we go into the next stage of growth, knowing more than we did a year ago. Has has been awesome. 

Les 27:47

Speaking of of growth, Susie, I know so you have raised some some capital, right? Have you is it an angel round that you've put together so far or

Thomas 27:55

It’s a pre-seed angel round we put together in the beginning part of this year.

Les 28:00

Nice congratulations. You know, I think there's another unique facet to you know, of your business and on the show, because most of the founders that we've talked to, especially over the past few months, you know, already have kind of a, a full up seed or Series A round behind them, during times when times was good. They're facing this and a lot of cases the challenge of being like so far out in front of their skis that's like, how do they catch up with the post money valuation? So you're in a pretty unique spot as a company as a growing company with great traction. And how are you thinking about that, given some of the macroeconomic trends that are that are happening around you?

Thomas 28:41

Yeah, I I love this question. And I'll have Susie cut me off. As I said, I studied economics. So I probably think about this stuff. I think about it too much. I think the the too long didn't read, which is Susie, thankfully, remind me is like, for the most part, it doesn't matter, right? Like it does, and it doesn't like you have to build something that people want. And we're pre-product market fit for us. It's about finding product market fit. Yeah, the one thing I'll layer on top of that is we're pushing for monetization a lot earlier than we had originally planned. When we looked at the benchmarks for a seed round, and maybe six to eight months ago, it was one thing and a lot of companies were raising with a particular profile. And I think that profile is changed where there's a higher bar for traction, earlier timing on monetization. And so I think our main lesson with that is we're we're pushing ourselves to have a higher bar with what we spend our time on by introducing monetization earlier. So we really have that revenue focus maybe earlier than we were originally originally planning when capital seemed very plentiful. If you were able to get traction,

Les 29:54

Makes sense. Susie anything to add, you know, just just to Just to how you're feeling about the future? 

Susie 30:02

I would say just to answer your question directly and very simply is that if we're solving a real problem, which we believe we are, and I don't think the problem has changed, but we've just learned more insights, that our focus going into this market remains like, laser focus even more so. So not getting distracted by what's going on, or pre product market fit, like Thomas mentioned. And so we just need to stay laser focus and finding that over time, and really getting after, if we're solving a real problem, we will be able to build a billion dollar business on top of that, regardless of the times are good or bad,

Les 30:40

Right? Yeah, it's all about fundamentals for sure. Yeah. What? So I got to ask to kind of the elephant in the room. You know, if we look at your LinkedIn profiles, you're both co-founders. And that's it. No CEO, no CEO, no, CTO, no, but it's just co-founders. And I'm curious now having, you know, known known, Thomas for, you know, 20-30 minutes. I'm really curious. And, you know, obviously Susie, you and I had a lot of bunch of interaction at the conference. But I'm curious, I can see where there's natural, you know, sort of abilities and fit here in terms of like the complements to one another. But I'm curious to hear from you both, like, what do you see in each other as co-founders that like makes this a winning team.

Susie 31:26

So I would say that Thomas and I have like very complementary skill sets. And we always have been, like, working, like from grad school to working in tech consulting to now in the startup. And what I mean by that is that I'm very much like - Thomas describes it in a different way. And I'll, I won't, I'll let him do that. But the way that I like to describe it is that I'm like, Okay, let's set a direction and figure it out. And let's go execute and get get shit done. And let's figure it out. And Thomas is very much like high level thinking about a million ideas, and like very visionary thinking about, okay, where, where's the biggest opportunity in the market? And how can we solve a problem. And so together, what that looks like from a division of like responsibilities is, of course, we need all hands on deck all the time. But I think helping steer the ship is what Thomas is really good at. And I'm really good at helping us execute on what we set out to do. And so I think it makes for a really good good team and really good conversations and heated debates. You’ve me in person. Les, but you haven't met Thomas, and we will walk into room sometimes. And we are in person. And I'm this like five feet like sassy little Latina girl.

Les 32:46

Good description. Yeah.

Susie 32:50

Thomas is like an Irish background guy. Different backgrounds. But we come together in like such a complimentary way, thinking about problems from all angles, and really question to get to the right solution. But Thomas, I'll let you add to your two cents as well. 

Thomas 33:08

No, I think it's well said I think the balance of our skill sets work very well. Right. And I think we really learn from each other skill sets to like, from an operational standpoint, like Susie brings out a rigger in me a lot. And like, I think from a tactical standpoint, like a lot of our marketing, like all spend time on the copy and the messaging and like the targeting and Susie will, like, make it look beautiful, and get it out, right? So it's not like we're splitting up like product and marketing or any of that crap, it's more like, within what we have to get done in a given day, which one of us can do a certain part faster. To get, you know, to try and combine the best of both worlds. The one other thing I'll add is, neither of us, we're both technical ish. But neither of us are app developers. And I, you know, there's often like, you want to have a technical co-founder early on, and like, we've been able to build stuff on our own and also build a team around building out the product and execute pretty well on that. And the one reflection I've had from it is because Susie and I worked together because we knew each other we knew each other's families, we had kind of supported each other as friends as well as colleagues, is there's just a tremendous amount of trust between the two of us, which I think is super important, like, conflict resolution, like friendship, like, I think it's important to have a foundation there because if you have that trust, then you can figure a lot out. It's not just hey, on paper, we're perfect in terms of like, Magic and Jordan or whatever. It's like, Hey, we're gonna get through the tough times together because there's a lot of trust between the two of us.

Les 34:50

I like it Magic and Jordan, Susie and Tomas.Well, it's certainly it's clear to me that there's great chemistry and trust for sure. And, you know, I often think too, you know, part of the complex of building a startup is it's there's so much uncertainty and there's so many things outside of, of your control. It's often a matter of just mitigating the risk, risk associated with those things by controlling the things that you can, like a strong founding team and partnership is a great, great, great to hear that you've got it. So what, what's in the works, anything, any new experiments or anything cool that you're trying out now that you're excited, you kind of want to, you know, hear and hear it here first, on Found In the Rockies. 

Susie 35:46

Yeah, well you kinda alluded to it earlier, Thomas, so I’ll let you kind of

Thomas 35:49

Yeah, for sure. So I think building on what we said, it's kind of that insight of really having curated content put together, we've recently launched, our learning paths is what we're calling them. And so basically what it is, is curated by somebody who's done the work on a given topic, the best reads and listens to learn something. Right. So we're starting with product management, early stage startups in cryptocurrency. And so we have learning pads coming out on like product management must reads technical concepts for non technical people, Bitcoin basics, legal and finance for entrepreneurs, as kind of launched learning paths. And so the idea is, you can come in find really great content with a lot of context. And then we'll even start to connect people who have consumed that content to have some discussions. So if anybody's interested, the plug is,, if you hit sign up, you'll get access to that first learning path. And we'll be in touch, we have our iOS still live and what we've done. And we're going to be integrating that over as we get a bit more clarity with it. But we have those learning paths out and rolling here.

Susie 37:06

And of course, there's only so much that like our subject matter expertise, like funnels over and so we're also looking to like call all curators, so if you identify as somebody that is a researcher that does a ton of searching of the internet, and you've just found like, or if you have your own list of like the top 10 resources for learning, product management leadership career that you find yourself sharing with others, just ad hoc, or people come to you as like, Hey, I know that Les, he knows everything about startups, I'm gonna reach out to him for resources. If you identify as a curator, we're calling on curators to, like connect with us see how we can partner to maybe bring something to your group or organization or allow you to just share it with the world, because what we've learned is that not everybody is a creator that can put in the work to put together a podcast or YouTube channel or write on Twitter all the time. But there's these people that are avid consumers of the content on the internet. And so as they become SMEs of their own in their respective fields, allowing them to put together curate a modern day syllabus for people. So I'd layer that on.

Les 38:24

It's I never thought of it that way. But it's a really it's a special kind of tool or approach for for those sorts of folks. It's a different talent, it's a different expertise, but those people are out there, we've all met them, you know, you've all met the, the, you know, the the gardener, you know, like really, like knows everything, the green thumb and it's like, no, all the brookstreet and all it's like, they're everywhere. Those people are everywhere. But this gives them a voice and a medium to curate if they're not necessarily the content makers and creators. 

Thomas 38:56

And in a world of abundant content that's getting more and more exponential, that curation becomes a lot more powerful, right. And so those, those tastemakers, those, this is worth your time. This isn't, we believe is going to become even more valuable over time.

Susie 39:13

And then for the consumer is specifically the mid career like young professional when you are battling for time with or you're going through a major life event whether that's like getting married, buying a home, helping care for an elderly loved one, you're really strapped for time. And if you can go to a trusted source to continue to level up on the topics that you care about. With disposable income, you'd pay $5 to continue to have that learning path curated for you. We're super excited about that.

Les 39:45

It's exciting. You know, it's almost like a new medium. I would think of for, for influencers too right? I mean, historically, the influencers have been, you know, propped up by social media mediums where they have the ability to create specific content for their interests and attracting massive followings. But now, I could potentially be a curator. And that allows me to be an influencer because of that because I am a tastemaker. Right, as Thomas said,

Susie 40:14

Exactly. Think of the 2010s very much of the creator economy type of world. And the 2020s really as the curator economy type of world, because of the reasons that you guys pointed out. So we're stepping into a new era,

Les 40:30

Timing is impeccable here. This is great. So speaking of that, you know, we're just about out of time today. But I always like to ask kind of one fun, like, personal question. And for you, for the two of you, I have the perfect one. And that is what is something personally, that each of you want to learn more about, like what's in your INDX?

Susie 40:55

Yeah, that's a really good question. And do you want to take it first? 


Yeah, I can pop into that. So I, I'm super interested, like the two areas just in the broader market that get me super excited. I say like the cousins of health care and education are learning and wellness, right? Kind of stuff you can do on your own right. And the learning about health is something that I've really tried to go down the rabbit hole recently, like fasting, exercise, sleep, you know, I have a WHOOP, like Susie and I both for her birthday. And then I got one with the discount code. We tried out the levels metabolic health patch together. And I think that it's just really interesting to get insight into how your body's working. And there's a ton of great content out there. So quick INDX related plug for anyone listening, because we're gonna put together a collection on it, but Dr. Rhonda, Patrick, Andrew Huberman, and Peter Attia are creators I've found in the space where you can learn a ton just in podcast form while you're walking around, or, like, interested in fasting or focus or kind of any of that health related stuff a lot of great, content that's being published. Super cool.

Les 42:15

I'm gonna get I'm gonna get in on that learning path for sure. My wife always, you know, it's like every book, I just finished the plant paradox. And she's like, you know, there's other perspectives on this stuff, too. And I'm like, I know. But it's like, I'm just like, I virally consume it and get passionate about it for like, a week. So I'm on that I'm on that learning path for sure.

Susie 42:34

That’s right, you have your WHOOP I see, right? I love that, Susie, me. And you had a hard time like thinking of like, this moment of time for a second because there's so many great things out there, right. And most recently, I actually had my advisor from undergrad reach out to me, shout out Dr. Farrow, and he just wanted to connect and had like, about what we were doing with INDX. And he actually connected me with another one of his former students that has since left, and he's in, he's an engineer as well. And now he's an author. And so he's a construction manager during the day, and he's an author at night. And we got a chance to connect about his journey in becoming an author and his book, Absorbent Learning touches on a lot of the similar things that we believe in, which is like continuous learning is important, making sure it's a priority. How do we make it more fun, or integrate that into our everyday lives beyond just the like structured ways it exists today? And so I'm specifically excited about digging into his book on Audible and just connecting with other people that consume similar content to one another that right now the infrastructure doesn't exist to connect with like, oh, you also listen to like, all these podcast, so I'm really looking forward to digging into that book.

Les 44:08

Good for you. Well, thank you for thanks for sharing that. And it wouldn't be fair if I didn't answer as well. So I'll I'll throw that out there. If you have a learning path for raising chickens, I would be all over that. Oh, my daughter has these we hatched or we had chicks this spring. Now their chickens. I can't get them to lay eggs. I underestimated how much work it is like. I don't know what to feed them, it’s like.

Thomas 44:34

No, you know what's funny? I have my parents moved to J Vermont. In during the pandemic and I may have some curators for you there

Les 44:46

all right, I'm in put me in coach

Thomas 44:49

I'll reach out about the thing and caring for chickens pathway and see if I can fast track that.

Les 44:56

So you Thomas, I tried to test you with something that I thought would be impossible but clearly There's a learning path for everything out there every INDX has to has to make it and curate it and, and continue to build this community


and just to pull on the joke thread even more. It's a good example actually, in a weird way because you could just Google it right like and that's sometimes the guys like just Google it right? You'll find some ads, you'll find like, an article or something like that. But how do you trust it? Have they done it before? How do you dig deeper on it? That's definitely the essence of the challenge that we're trying to solve here.

Susie 45:36

You want to find the person that's the like, expert that's already done all the work that could curate that path for you. And it takes away your headache and it saves you time.

Thomas 45:44

All the healthy chickens. Yeah, exactly.

Les 45:47

Yeah, wonderful. Well, I gotta say, it's been such a joy having you both on the show today. So excited about the future. For the two of you and what you're building with INDX. Why don't could you just to conclude, Susie, could you tell me where we can find more about the two of you and INDX online?

Susie 46:08

Yeah, absolutely. So you can go to our website at getINDX No “e”, so You can find us on all socials, get INDX is our handle across everything. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, even. And we do have a TikTok that we posted on so we are modern. So you can find us on all channels that way. And then my personal handle is Susiestartup so you can find me on everything there. And then Thomas is

Thomas 46:43

CotterTMC on Twitter, but Susie is definitely more entertaining. So I'd follow her on Twitter than me.

Les 46:50

Right. And I'm sure this podcast and many more will be on an INDX brought to you soon so don't forget to check it out on INDX as well. Thanks so much. So good to have you both.

Thomas 47:02

Thank you Les.

Les 47:10

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of Found in the Rockies. You can find links in the show notes or go to to get transcripts, links and contact information for today's guests. If you like what you heard and want more, please don't forget to rate review and subscribe to get notified as our new episodes drop every two weeks. We'll see you next time.