Absolute Return Podcast

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#173: Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark Trucks

On today’s podcast we welcome the Co-Founder and CEO of Embark Trucks, Alex Rodrigues. Embark is a leading developer of autonomous software technology for the trucking industry.


On the show, Alex discusses:

-What it was like to drop out of university to become a Thiel Fellow

-Embark’s self-driving technology and their value proposition to customers

-Insights into the $4.55 billion merger with Northern Genesis Acquisition II

-How they get investors comfortable with a pre-revenue stage company

-And more

#172: Leadership Chat: Stem CEO John Carrington

On today’s podcast we welcome special guest John Carrington. John is the CEO of Stem, the market leader in AI-driven clean energy storage systems.


On the show, John discusses:

- How Stem’s business has evolved in the 8 years since he joined

- The competitive landscape and what makes Stem the market leader

- Insights into the recent going-public process

- ESG, AI and the company’s growth opportunities

- And more

#171: Leadership Chat: Vacasa CEO Matt Roberts

On today’s podcast we welcome special guest, Vacasa CEO Matt Roberts. Vacasa is the leading vacation rental management platform in North America and it just announced a $3.75 billion going public transaction.


On the show, Matt discusses:

- Vacasa’s business model and how it differs from Airbnb

- Its value proposition and why customers would choose Vacasa

- Insights into Vacasa’s merger with TPG Pace Solutions

- The investment case for the stock

- And more

#170: Leadership Chat: Victoria Grace, CEO of Queen’s Gambit, and Youssef Salem, CFO of Swvl

On today’s podcast we welcome special guests Victoria Grace, Founder and CEO of Queen’s Gambit, and Youssef Salem, CFO of Swvl. Queen’s Gambit is a sustainability-focused SPAC that announced a $1.13 billion merger with Swvl, a Dubai-based provider of transformative mass transit and shared mobility solutions.


On the show, Victoria and Youssef discuss:

- The founding of Queen’s Gambit and whether Victoria is a fan of the Netflix series or chess

- How Swvl differentiates itself from Uber / Careem or other competitors in the marketplace

- Some of the key drivers that investors should be aware of for Swvl

- And more

#169: Leadership Chat: Kin CEO Sean Harper and Omnichannel Acquisition CEO Matt Higgins

On today’s podcast we welcome special guests Sean Harper, Co-founder and CEO of Kin, and Matt Higgins, Chairman and CEO of Omnichannel Acquisition. Kin Insurance is an insurance technology company that makes home insurance easy and affordable. It recently announced a $1 billion merger with Omnichannel Acquisition.


On the show, Sean and Matt discuss:

- The thesis behind the founding of Kin

- Kin’s value proposition, competitors, and why DTC is a fundamentally better insurance model

- How the merger between Kin and Omnichannel came together

- Why investors should consider Kin stock

- And more

#168: Leadership Chat: IonQ CEO Peter Chapman

 On today’s show, we welcome special guest Peter Chapman, CEO of IonQ. IonQ is a leader in quantum computing and just announced that it is going public in a deal worth $1.4 billion. 


On the podcast, Peter discusses:

- Starting out in MIT’s artificial intelligence lab at 16 and why he pursued technology

- The basics of quantum computing

- How IonQ is different from other quantum computing competitors

- Some of the risks that quantum computing presents

- The company’s strategy behind going public through a merger with dMY Technology Group III and its growth plans

- And more

#167: Leadership Chat: Planet Labs CEO Will Marshall

On today’s podcast, we welcome special guest Will Marshall, CEO of Planet Labs. Planet Labs is a leading provider of daily data and insights about the Earth and is currently going public at a $2.25 billion enterprise value.


On the show, Will discusses:

- His background at NASA and some important missions they accomplished

- How Planet plans to become the “Bloomberg Terminal for Earth data”

- Planet’s business model and competitive advantages in the marketplace

- What made dMY Technology the right merger partner

- And more

#166: Leadership Chat: Eric Stonestrom, CEO of Airspan Networks

On today’s podcast, we welcome special guest Eric Stonestrom, CEO of Airspan Networks. Airspan is a newly-public company that provides software and hardware for 5G network solutions.


On the podcast, Eric discusses:

- What is so great about 5G technology for society

- Airspan’s product suite and how they expect to take market share from legacy network providers

- Who are their customers and competitors in the marketplace

- The future of network technology

- And more

#165: Leadership Chat: Scott McNeill and Jim Mutrie, Co-CEOs of Switchback II

On today’s podcast, we welcome special guests Scott McNeill and Jim Mutrie, Co-CEOs of Switchback II. The company recently announced a $2.3 billion business combination with Bird, a leader in shared short range environmentally friendly electric transportation.


On the show, Scott and Jim discuss:

- Their background in oil & gas and subsequent pivot to an energy transition focus

- The thesis behind Switchback series of SPACs and lessons learned from the ChargePoint deal

- Why Bird was an ideal merger candidate for Switchback II

- What differentiates Bird in the highly competitive micromobilty sector

- And more

#164: Leadership Chat: Chieh Huang, CEO of Boxed

On today’s podcast, we welcome special guest Chieh Huang, CEO of Boxed, an e-commerce grocery shopping platform selling bulk consumables to households and businesses. Boxed recently announced a going-public transaction at a $640 million enterprise value.


On the podcast, Chieh discusses:

- Why he left the partner track at a white-shoe law firm to pursue entrepreneurship

- How Boxed evolved since its founding in a garage 8 years ago

- How Boxed competes with Walmart, Amazon and Costco

- Key insights into its going-public transaction with SPAC Seven Oaks Acquisition

- Growth opportunities and how Boxed plans on getting to $1 billion of revenue

- And more

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