"Venture capitalists are great aggregators of information (and opinions) on specific industries, geographies and market sentiment," said Kara Nortman a seasoned entrepreneur and venture capitalist at Upfront Ventures. "They're paid to stay ahead of trends and look at pitfalls and success factors of company building."
In their ongoing mission to learn the most crucial new developments impacting the business world, many successful investors stay up to date with podcasts. Entrepreneurs and business leaders can give themselves a competitive edge by tapping into the same sources of information investors use to stay on top of their game.
I surveyed six prominent VCs and angel investors across the nation to learn what podcasts they're listening to right now. They pointed me towards seven programs you should tune into for insightful business news and actionable advice.
1. Reboot Podcast
Starting a company comes with emotional and psychological challenges that must be faced each day. The Reboot Podcast showcases the "heart and soul" of startup leadership, with host Jerry Colonna delving into the ups and downs, wins and losses of his guests, and exploring their methods for coping.
Favorite of: Brad Feld, Foundry Group
In his own words: "Jerry Colonna is magical. His ability to go deep with founders on the soft stuff around being a founder and leader is unparalleled."
2. How I Built This
This relatively new program from NPR brings on highly successful innovators and entrepreneurs to tell the stories behind the companies they've built on How I Built This. Rather than highlighting their successes alone, host Guy Raz takes listeners on a journey through their highs, lows and lucky breaks, offering remarkable insights into their personal journeys.
Favorite of: Erica Duignan Minnihan, 1000 Angels
In her own words: "Learning about the challenges successful people have had to overcome helps give you the strength you need to surmount your own challenges in business and in life. I also love the host, Guy Raz. His voice is really soothing."
3. The Twenty Minute VC
Here's a podcast exclusively about venture capital and startup funding. Enthusiastic host Harry Stebbings is a master at interviewing VCs and early-stage founders, and he's consistently able to draw out his guests' best advice on raising money and investing. The Twenty Minute VC is incredibly useful--even for founders who aren't considering fundraising--because it illuminates many best practices of business as told by expert investors.
Favorite of: Ezra Galston, Chicago Ventures
In his own words: "Harry Stebbings has done a great job immersing himself into the VC world and asks authentic questions that reflect up-to date-considerations for both entrepreneurs and investors. He also guides interviewees to recognize the incentives and sensitivities behind their approaches."
4. Gimlet Media's StartUp and Reply All
Podcasting company Gimlet Media produces a dozen excellent programs across a wide range of topics, but StartUp and Reply All are especially useful for entrepreneurs and investors. StartUp began as a behind-the-scenes chronicle of Gimlet Media's own beginning, and it now highlights the story of a different startup in each episode. Reply All is a tech-focused show about the weird world of the Internet and the surprising ways it changes people, and vice versa.
Favorite of: Alicia Syrett, Pantegrion Capital
In her own words: "StartUp's various seasons are fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories about the realities of startup life. Reply All is a really interesting look into the sometimes obscure world of internet phenomenons, memes, and trends."
Ben Thompson and James Allworth, prominent writers and two of the brightest minds in tech, co-host this weekly podcast that explores the profound impact technology has on business and society as a whole. The fun, conversational style of Exponent creates an engaging listening experience and makes the complicated subject matter very approachable.
Favorite of: Dave Knox, WPP Ventures
In his own words: "Every episode opens your eyes to new concepts that have cascading effects on the entire business world. The co-hosts have a conversational style of debate and discussion that makes each hour-long episode fly by."
6. TED Radio Hour
Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected sources, and the TED Radio Hour, co-produced by NPR, delivers a gold mine of idea-sparking information. Each episode features several snippets from popular TED Talks that fit a common theme, such as innovations in crowdsourcing or the future of artificial intelligence. It's an easy way to give yourself a shot of inspiration between meetings or during your daily commute.
Favorite of: Kara Nortman, Upfront Ventures
In her own words: "This podcast hits a wide array of interdisciplinary topics that on the surface have nothing to do with my job, and yet I almost always pull out some new nugget of information that is useful to my day-to-day work and helps me view a company, team or market through a unique lens."
BroadMic shines the spotlight on women founders, investors and business leaders who are thinking big and changing their industries through bold action. Each week, host and angel investor Kelly Hoey interviews a female game changer and unpacks the story behind her success. BroadMic strives to represent entrepreneurs who don't fit the traditional stereotypes, and it's a great source of inspiration for anyone who wants to disrupt markets and make an impact.
Favorite of: Erica Duignan Minnihan, 1000 Angels
In her own words: "BroadMic really focuses on the ways women have had to deal with our unique challenges in business, such as balancing family commitments or overcoming bias in male-dominated industries. It really creates a sense of community for women entrepreneurs."
The Powderkeg podcast is my own undertaking to highlight the best actionable advice for business leaders delivered through the personal stories of founders, business experts and investors, including some of the ones quoted in this article.