Jeremy Weisz

Okay. But no, I’m really curious of where do you think, you know, from a marketing perspective, I could see a lot of opportunity in this virtual reality world. Do you see the same as investor? Or I’m curious what you see with us? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker

absolutely. I think there are some things that are gonna have to change before your average consumer, you know, it gets to scale. One of which is, you know, the equipment, right? There’s a company that we invested in out of Moonshots Capital fund one called Red 6, Red 6, is solving a very big problem that the United States Department of Defense has, and that’s training fighter pilots. It’s incredibly expensive. And there’s, we don’t actually own any of the kind of bad guys, aircraft, especially with current capability. So it’s very difficult to give a pilot an actual combat situation where they might have to go in like dogfight basically. And you can simulate a lot of things in the simulator on the ground, but it’s different when you’re pulling in four or five G’s in a dogfight. And I don’t say that with experience. I’m saying that from having talked to actual fighter pilots, and what Red Six is done as been able to create an augmented reality capability in a dynamic environment. That’s cool. The hit on augmented reality is you cannot walk around outside and experience augmented reality, right, because it’s got to be a closed contained area where you know all the different points in the room and you can measure so that you can portray the right video image for where your head is in context to the rest of the room. And there’s probably not much more of a dynamic place in the world and in a cockpit of a fighter you know of a fighter jet, and Red 6 has been able to demonstrate that they can show enemy aircraft in augmented reality. In the fighters visor in the display, and that’s a few steps away from, you know, average consumer walking around with glasses on and using the computer in your, you know, in your mobile device to be able to power that allah, you know, the Terminator, seeing the overlay walking around outside and really seen it in real time with the right spatial dimensions, you know, and there are all sorts of problems that, you know, Magic Leap has tried to solve those with billions of dollars over the years, but our little tiny Red Six, with a specific client in mind has been able to solve it and one of the most dynamic environments in the world. So it is coming. Is it one year away? Three years away five years away? I’d say it’s probably in the less than five but more than two.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, yeah, even doing research for some of the games, there’s, you know, training games for flying an airplane. And I don’t even want to begin to learn to try and do that. I just want to be totally ignorant when I go up in the air. And I don’t want to know that I don’t want to be actually Meesa Meesa driving in and crash it and not be worried and have bad

Unknown Speaker

No control issues for you.

Jeremy Weisz

I am I’m definitely not not going to get that game. But I’m going to formally introduce you, Kelly, before I do this episode is brought to you by Rise25, which I co founded with my business partner, John Corcoran, it Rise25 we help businesses, basically, we’re an easy button for them to run and launch their podcasts for them. You know, over the past over 10 years of podcasting, it’s been one of the best things I’ve done. I always like to give into my relationships, I’ve seen no better way to bring people on my platform that people admire the thought leadership I want to put out in the world for other people and having them demonstrate that on my podcast. So if you have questions, and you are looking to start or launch a podcast, for your business, go to Rise25.com and check it out. And, you know, a shout out to Bunker Labs also, and we have a vet, you know, I know you like military background in the founders and entrepreneurs and CEOs that you invest in. And we had a veteran entrepreneur scholarship for when there were events, and we partner with companies like Bunker Labs, and we’re able to have, you know, veteran entrepreneurs come to the events that we have with other entrepreneurs and and learn from each other. So check that out. It’s Rise25.com/mission. And it’s you know, both of my my co founder, my grandfather’s had military experience, and they are a big driving force of from what we do as as business owners. So Kelly Perdew In short, I mean, God, Kelly, I could go on for like 20 minutes about your background in the companies. But I’ll keep it short, I’ll let you tell the rest. But you’ve served in pretty much every capacity founder, board member, CEO, CEO, oh, CFO, you’ve raised institutional financing, you’ve grown businesses, you’ve downsized businesses, you sold businesses, you’ve had eight figure exits, you’ve been a board advisor, board role in the past of Pandora and LinkedIn. You know, there’s a laundry list of others operating your roles in so many other fast point games. So you speak from experience as far as talking about games, which ended up selling to we play angel investments in so many options, which we’ll talk about ID me nimble. I mean, I’ve I’ve, you know, heard of Nimble and use Nimble too. And there’s a laundry list of others to boot. You won The Apprentice Apprentice Two You’re the only one that you’re Donald Trump did not say you are fired, too, I imagine and to boot MBA, JD from UCLA and graduated from West Point. So Kelly, thanks for joining me.

Kelly Perdew

I’m excited to be here. Um,

Jeremy Weisz

what was the impact of winning the apprentice? Have you? You know, maybe just fast forward in, you know, you press fast forward on a video and it goes through kind of really quickly after the apprentice. How did that impact you? What did you do? You know, what were kind of the fast forward after that?

Kelly Perdew

Yeah, for sure. So, you know, the apprentice was a reality show. So I want to, I want to, I want to, it’s basically under legally, it’s a game show, where you win a prize at the end of it, there’s a first place in the last place and there’s a graduated scale of payment. And my prize was, you know, 12 equal installments of like, 250 grand total of 250 grand paid, paid by my then employer, Donald Trump, you know, enterprises. And I moved to New York City and I worked with him for about 14 months, I stayed an extra two months, because I learned a lot from him on media management, and I got to do some things that I otherwise probably would not have done. I published a book as an author on applying military leadership principles to business. I hosted a show on the military channel called Gi Factory, kind of a dirty jobs, if you will, for military equipment, vehicles and weapon systems, which is awesome to get to go into all those factories and see exactly, you know, all the people that are there making it and how they’re all made. But I’d say that the biggest impact that winning that show had on me was, I was able to take that, you know, 15 minutes of fame, if you will, that even got extended out to about a year because I was in New York City, and I got to believe it or not really build out in a strong way, my LinkedIn network. And I actually, at the time, the show was on negotiated an advisory role. with LinkedIn, this is 2004, where, you know, I talked about LinkedIn, in the book that I published, I was having, you know, a million visitors a week to my website, KellyPerdew.com. And I parlayed that into some advisory shares in LinkedIn, and actually started using LinkedIn, you know, for its intended purpose, and really network to where, pretty quickly, I hit the 30,000, direct connection number. And for all of our portfolio companies, for the companies that I was starting and running at the time, I am able to leverage that network pretty extensively, whether it’s through recruiting talent, or business development relationships, you know, if you have the kind of winner of the apprentice, you’re a VC. And you’re investing capital, and I’m a military veteran, and I do an outreach to somebody and say, hey, I’ve got, you know, military veteran founder over here, who’s in cyber, hey, cio, of whatever sprint, can somebody on your team talk to them, it’s a pretty high response rate, you know, we’re at, like, 85% plus response rate. So it’s a pretty for me, that has turned into an incredibly valuable tool. And as part of that deal, where I was the adviser to LinkedIn, they wanted me to be the face of LinkedIn. I don’t know, I’m not sure how many people remember this. But they used to every couple weeks, put a famous person at, you know, what their, their profile looks like up like, you know, Guy Kawasaki, or whoever. And Kelly, Perdew winner of the apprentice was the face of LinkedIn for like, you know, a brief splits, I

Jeremy Weisz

want to see a screenshot of that, I got to look that up.

Kelly Perdew

I know, I’ve got one somewhere. But in any event that, you know, that has had what I believe to be an incredibly powerful lasting effect on, you know, my ability to help the entrepreneurs that we engage with.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. I want to talk about you know more about some of the investments in Moonshots, but obviously, we have to ask about what, you know, working with Donald Trump. Well, that was like, I mean, the one we’re talking about the political climate right now, it’s been very interesting, compared to when you knew him, then, you know, so a lot has changed. Since then.

Unknown Speaker

My, my business partner, Craig Cummings, describes that winning the apprentice is the gift that keeps on giving. I, I have stayed kind of very center of the road politically, and talk only about my inner party, you know, my personal interactions with him during that year. And this is 2005. Right? So this is 16 years ago. incredibly dynamic. Absolutely a deal junkie, I mean, pretty much what you saw transpiring over the last four years, is not afraid of making a split second decision in the moment based on gut. And then, you know, I guess, retracting or thinking about it or getting advice or influence and changing this position later. But I’d say the thing that I thought was pretty amazing to watch. And when he you know, announced that he was seriously in contention and running, and I was like, be careful, because he absolutely understands how to manage media. And I watched that occur. You’ll remember there were different, you know, seasons of the apprentice, there was a Martha Stewart apprentice there were you know, it was pretty hot in the reality world for a while, I think there’s about 30 million people watch my finale, so half a Super Bowl, so it was pretty big. He would randomly pick a fight to get media attention. Like, he’d fight with somebody on the view and came out like completely out of left field. And I just watched it transpire like two weeks before the next season of The Apprentice started. And his knowledge and understanding of what would be responsive in the media was was was amazing. And I and I took that lesson of watching that. And I and I think about it, and I talk about it with our founders, marketing’s incredibly important on what you’re doing. You may have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it doesn’t help. So if you’re Not thinking competitively about how you’re positioned in the marketplace and how you make noise about that. You’re at a disadvantage.

Jeremy Weisz

You know, who are some of the people you’re able to meet? Because of that show. I remember, you know, earlier today, I just watched there was a, there’s a 10 minute version, you can watch, like, the whole season in 10 minutes. And so I was like, I wonder really what happened. And there were people around, I mean, they had the owner of the Patriots, you know, yeah. So who are some of the people you were able to meet because of

Unknown Speaker

pretty spectacular interviewing, interviewing with with him. And he had the trophy, sitting there on the desk next to him at the time, he happened to be in possession of the trophy at the time. But, you know, Don Hudson was then the, she was the president of North America for Pepsi, Ace Greenberg, you know, absolutely, you know, iconic figure in the finance world. And, you know, he said, when he was given his advice to Donald on the last four of us that he interviewed, I mean, they were all very, you know, nice about what they said about me, but he said, you know, Donald Kelly is exceptional, in that not only having gone to West Point and served in the military, does he know how to lead. But I think for this role working with you, he also knows how to follow which was an interesting comment that proved prescient

Unknown Speaker

for every for everyone.

Unknown Speaker

But yeah, throughout that next year, being in New York City, and having had that many people watch, I met people from all walks of life I met, you know, other billionaires from real estate, I met TV personalities. I, you know, I was on Jay Leno. Show like it, I mean, the stuff that I got to do is literally, you know, it’s that split second, but you know, it’s it makes it’s good, it’s good. It’s good memories, I show the kids and they laugh and you know, it’s it’s, it’s just a flash in the pan really, really lucky experience to be able to do something like that.

Jeremy Weisz

It’s amazing. What was the most challenging thing? project that you because you worked on a lot of things it’s not a like with from launching, like Trump ice, you know, the water to working on the real estate to you talked about their suit company. I mean, they have their hands in so many different companies. What was the most challenging?

Unknown Speaker

Well, I’ll tell you what was pretty fascinating on the way in was, so I showed up for the first day of work. I think the show finale was in like December 14, or the end, middle of December. And then first day of work was ostensibly, like the first month, whatever the first Monday after New Year’s, right, whatever that was January 4, or whatever. And so I showed up, and he was like, What are you doing here? And I’m like, I want I’m scared came to like, Oh, okay. And I ended up you know, on Fifth Avenue and the building, figuring out what to do. So it was kind of a figure, figure it out on my own and see what see what, see what I can come up with. And the first thing I asked for it was I wanted to see the portfolio. I’m like, who manages the portfolio because he’s got his name on buildings, board games, alcohol, like it’s just, you know, the litany of, of branding elements, right licensing deals. And then there’s obviously the real estate business and all the other components. And figuring out what to work on, I think, was probably an interesting challenge, because there was a lot of other stuff that I wanted to get done. While I was also learning about real estate, because I did not come from real estate. So I spent a lot of my time with George, who was kind of his right hand consigliere if you remember at the gym, dude by himself, rolled up like 100 radio stations across the Midwest and sold them that was like his, you know, how he got to it. But he was like, at at the time, maybe and still took the train in, you know, the subway in policy, his own shoes, like old school, very, you know, fit like a like a glove with the kind of the West Point background that I had. So I and I and he’s the he was the commercial, commercial real estate guy. So he was like, on the commercial brokers for renting out space. And I learned a lot from spending more time, George

Jeremy Weisz

Kelly, I get to listen to your stories, probably for the next few hours. I know we have limited time. And there’s so many channels, we can go over but I wanted to hit on, you know, two more than that. But two portfolio companies, you could talk briefly about Gretel, and ID.me in and first just talk about the criteria, your selection criteria, there’s a page you can go to MoonshotsCapital.com and go to the selection criteria. And I’m wondering, overlaying those two were there any that they didn’t hit that you have, why you decided and then we could talk about it, but anyone could check it out. Because if you’re wondering thinking, well, maybe I am a candidate. I am a company because Kelly probably gets lots of pitches, how many pitches? Do you think you get a month?

Kelly Perdew

We’re in between 100 and 150 a month? Depends on the month.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. So read this before maybe you pitch them to see if your

Unknown Speaker

call to call out the criteria. Yeah, I will say, if you if Craig and I have looked back at our investments from from the fun one, and now and fun to, and, you know, no, no company meets every one of the criteria. So we’re like, but all of them meet a majority of the criteria. So when we’re when we’re first and foremost, we’re looking for extraordinary leadership. And what we mean by like, nowhere in the world is millions of dollars spent training people in leadership per se, other than the military. So, and we happen to have a really good network there. So for background checking and getting data points on these individuals, it’s phenomenal, not only for us, but for the entrepreneur who happens to have that military background, they can use their channel to find out about us, right. So when you meet up, if you’ve passed the sniff test both ways. There’s already a level of trust, common background, shared vernacular that really accelerates that trust, which is super important when you’re working with with investors. So it’s not exclusive, about half of our au m, has gone into teams with military veterans on them, but half of them haven’t. We’re just looking for that extraordinary leadership capability. First of all, and you asked about Gretel, and ID.me specifically. So So Gretel, was founded by Alex Watson. And Alex, we, Craig and I, through the years started as angels, you know, writing those checks, then moved into leading syndicates, meaning we gather up other angels and invest those deaths, those on syndicates on our own, we’ve done I think, 40 of those now. And then we moved into committed funds where we could deploy capital with conviction, when we decided to and didn’t have to go round round up the capital to be able to execute and move that way. And then we’d like to lead we’d like to take that you know, lead position invest in you know, late seed rounds, when there’s a product moving some annual recurring revenue in place, kind of bitter, the dogs are kind of eating the dog food teams not completely set maybe pricing is not completely figured out. But we Craig and I with our operating experience can help those founders accelerate because you

Jeremy Weisz

roll up your sleeves with the with the companies you invest in, we do

Unknown Speaker

on on the ones we lead, for sure. And sometimes when we’re we like the entrepreneur, founder, and they make room for us in a deal that we like will put money and will still help. But when we’re leading and taking a board seat, we take that very seriously and want to help the entrepreneurs not make the mistakes that Craig and I have previously made. So So Gretel, Alex Watson, we previously had led a syndicate into his in the company that he ran before, called Harvest AI. And Trinity Ventures came in while we were raising the syndicate and led a seed round, we rolled into that seed round, I went onto the board with Alex and the Trinity VC. We sold that company to Amazon in about 18 months, successful, Alex went into Amazon, that product rolled out in AWS to much fanfare, fanfare did a great job. And I stayed on Alex, I knew what his end date was for his locker,

Jeremy Weisz

your alarm go off on your phone.

Unknown Speaker

And then the six months before he was out weekly, I pinged him, I slow water torture, drip him to death, and said, Where are we sending the next check for the next deal that’s happening. And to him, in a very competitive race, we won leading the seed round. So we, we did a three and a half million dollar seed round into his next business with very accomplished co founders, which made it super easy and like we did it, we had to go up in price, or else they were going to go to like, you know, a tier one very well known brand name fund and take a bigger amount. We said no, no, no, take less good price, less dilution, build it out and get a lot more from those big boys later. So Greylock quickly followed us into the seed and took the rest of the seed round. And then just in at the end of this, at the end of 2020, lead to a round. And Alex is a phenomenal leader of hardcore technology driven brilliant, and it has surrounded himself with a killer team trying to solve solve a very, very big problem. So that one was a known founder to us where there was a lot of trust again, trust is super important. And he was willing to work with us early on, to develop the prototype, get the beta out and and get attract enough interest to raise a series A round of financing.

Jeremy Weisz

I love it. I know we’re right at the half hour, we could end it or if you want to mention ID Me that’s fine. So

Unknown Speaker

the ID.me story is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. So Blake Hall, military veteran iraq war here. Harvard Business School, wanted wanted to build a company. And he talked to an investor in New York who put a little money into him while he was Couch Surfing eating too efficient ramen, the normal entrepreneurial life, right, not taking the job at McKinsey not taking the job at Goldman, but pursuing this dream of building a company. And the investor in New York said, Oh, yeah, you’re a military veteran, you should talk to Kelly in Los Angeles. He’s a buddy of mine. he’s a he’s a military veteran. He likes investing in military veterans. So I got the phone call that sounded like, you know, a military guy. Yes, sir. This is a call. And I’d like to set up a little stir. Like I haven’t heard this all along, like in a while. And we got to know each other. And then we became friends. And I have helped him all that I can to the point. He’s, he’s such an amazing individual and leader on how he operates that I’ve learned more from him. I think that he’s learned from me. And we’ve evolved the company. Now you have probably seen all of the uproar in the media about the fraud that has occurred on unemployment claims, and the payouts that have gone to Russian Chinese Nigerian organized crime, you name it, just massive amounts of fraud and ID.me has built an online identity verification capability that’s in use with the VA already over the years. This is this is one of those 11 year overnight success stories. They rolled out with California recently, they’re enabling you to not to spend three hours at the DMV by doing a whole bunch of stuff online, sign me up,

Jeremy Weisz

I assign everyone not to go to the DMV, wow, that’s the tagline

Unknown Speaker

50 bucks, and then they think for a second they No, no, I pay 100, I pay up to 500 bucks. And they’re billion

Jeremy Weisz

dollar company by solving the problem by the DMV.

Unknown Speaker

So USA led to a round FTV capital at the B round, we’re in the process of a really, really amazing next round of financing right now. And Blake embodies is kind of the poster child for what we talked about in terms of, you know, being able to execute, be cook, being coachable, understanding leadership, understanding that you just surround yourself with people who do things better than you do all of those things you read about in the books, the actual execution of those things is really hard to do. And he’s been phenomenal at that. So, and I’ve been, you know, a board member and mentor for the last 10 years. But the story there is there been two pivots. So as an entrepreneur, you are going to have very, very, very tough times and tough days. And it’s important for you to have investors, mentors, personal advisors, board members from the investor standpoint and team members that understand that it is not all roses and rainbows all the time. But if you stick to it, and stay smart and understand what’s happening in the marketplace, you can create some incredible value.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, Kelly, I want to be the first one to thank you. It pains me to end this interview. But everyone should check out MoonshotsCapital.com if you know of a company or you are a company that you think is a fit check out there. You know what their criteria is? reach out to them and just check out what their thought leadership you know what I’m looking for Kelly is your next book like I want to listen to or read your next book whenever that is. So everyone, check it out. And thanks for listening.

Kelly Perdew

Awesome, Jeremy. Thanks for having me.