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Episode 14: Growing Sales with Zinnia


   Kingsmen Beyond the Build YouTube Channel

Listen to the episode: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0EQQB3E9nC2OnjJxI2vZKa?si=JFK5WTMOTwWpfCh6yOGA4A 

Watch the episode: https://youtu.be/TMkJLBwcnLc 


About the Episode:

In this episode of Beyond the Build, Kevin Carney interviews Lauren Goodell, founder and CEO of Zinnia, an AI-powered relationship intelligence platform. They discuss how Zinnia integrates with your calendar to create short "dossiers" on people you're meeting, gathering insights to help you build connections. Lauren shares her background working at Microsoft and Salesforce before founding startups, and how Zinnia uses AI like GPT-3 to summarize information. They also talk about Zinnia's future roadmap including more personalization and fun features like facial recognition at events, lessons learned from quick iteration, and supporting female founders. 

Key Takeaways:  

  • Zinnia creates short summaries on people you're meeting to help you make meaningful connections. It integrates with your calendar and gathers insights using AI.  
  • Lauren believes in launching quickly and getting customer feedback early, avoiding perfectionism. She's incorporating learnings into Zinnia's future roadmap.  
  • Organizations like Gwen (Growing Women Entrepreneurs Network) provide important support for female founders, who get only 1.9% of VC funding. 


Learn more about our guest:  

Lauren Goodell is the founder and CEO of Zinnia, is an innovative, AI-powered tool designed to revolutionize meeting preparation for sales professionals. She is celebrated as one of the "100 Women to KNOW in America," by JPMorgan Chase and Top 25 Women in Business by Charlotte Business Journal for her influential and commendable contributions in entrepreneurship and community building. From her corporate experience at Microsoft and Salesforce, to her entrepreneurial journey, her focus has centered on the power of human connection. https://www.getzinnia.ai/


About the Host: Kevin Carney, Managing Partner of Kingsmen Software

Kevin Carney is a Managing Partner at Kingsmen Software. As Client Partner, Kevin assists clients in their transition from Sales to Delivery and then maintains a relationship to ensure successful completion. A Finance major by training, Kevin bridges the gap between business and technology, especially for Kingsmen’s banking and capital markets clients. Kevin has 30 years of experience in consulting to financial services institutions. 


About Kingsmen Software:

We are dedicated, experienced practitioners of software development. We grow software iteratively and adapt quickly to changing business objectives, so we deliver the right software at the right time. Our proven approach combines processes, tooling, automation, and frameworks to enable scalability, efficiency, and business agility. Meanwhile, our advisory & coaching services enable technology leaders, business partners and their teams to learn and adapt their way to sustainable, collaborative, and data-driven operating models.

Kevin Carney 00:10

Welcome to Kingsmen software's beyond the build podcast at Kingsman. We pride ourselves on building enterprise quality software and we have the privilege of meeting some pretty interesting people along the way. Come join us to meet the visionaries, the disruptors, the entrepreneurs and the innovators that envision new technology solutions and then bring them to life. Come join us to hear what happens beyond the build from the Kingsman bourbon studio, this is Kevin Kearney are the managing partners that Kingsmen software, and I'll be hosting today's podcast. Joining me today as our sound and video engineer Bill Creasy. Not only our intrepid CEO, also our resident beer Meister, Sal Lowville. Hello, Bill. Today we're talking to the founder and CEO of Zinnia, Lauren Goodell. Lauren, thanks for joining us.


Lauren Goodell 00:58

Thanks for having me.


Kevin Carney 00:59

So we met way back in the summertime at like tech leaders forum, I think right with with, you're doing a panel conversation on AI, John H is moderating. And I saw what you guys did as anyone really intrigued me, it was very interesting how I can get dossiers and all the people I'm about to meet today. Or I can research clients as well. So with with that, I can instantly relate to it. So give me a little more information about what Cindy can do for someone, get some stats, like how old your is your company, and how many people have used it and things along those lines. Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 01:31

so we launched Zinnia about a year and a half ago, out of the Atlanta venture studio. But the whole purpose of Zinnia is really to drive human connection. So how do you make better relationships with your clients with your prospects? And really what it does is plugs into your calendar and says you're meeting with all these people today. We've all been there back to back meetings where you're like, Who the heck is Lauren Goodell? And what are we talking about today? And you scramble and talk about whether for the first minute as you're typing things on LinkedIn, it's like yeah. But really what Zinnia does is instead of having to go search for them on LinkedIn and find find the right Kevin Carney, it pops up and says this is who Kevin is couple quick sentences, and also provides a link to your company and your LinkedIn. So


Kevin Carney 02:12

so I've been using this for the past couple of months, and it is spookily, spookily, eerily, whatever the word is good. And it does help me prepare for my day. Because oftentimes, I mean, people like Bill and I who Bill is I don't need to know, Bill. But, but I am often meeting with someone and there's other people on their team that I didn't realize were on the meeting invite, and it just kind of pops those people in I know what their title is, or what their, what their role is in the company. And so I can, like you always know the person you're meeting with and not always do the rest of the people that you're meeting with. So that's really been helpful. Great. We


Lauren Goodell 02:50

love hearing that. Yeah, it's


Kevin Carney 02:50

good stuff. So so that's your your dailies in your profile. Right? And you mentioned the Atlanta Tech Village, Atlanta tech ventures. Give them more about how you get in there and and how that's been working out for you. Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 03:08

so I, I'm a recovering corporate employee, spent a long time between Microsoft and Salesforce and a 12 step program, you know, feels like 20 setup this morning. But you know, it's a process, right. But yeah, I left corporate to start a company in the web three space prior to this one. So it was Dell governance and anti whitelisting. And really, through that process, I was able to connect with Catherine eau de one of the partners that Atlanta ventures and she's incredible, she became a good friend and mentor of mine. And when I was exiting that company, I was trying to figure out, what do I want to do next? You know, I was still in step three of the program. So it was like, do I go back to corporate? You know, we've long since passed that step but or do I start another company? What do I do? And Atlanta ventures said, Hey, we believe in you, we would love to partner with you to build whatever you want to do next. So I end up joining the Atlanta venture studio, and we took some time to really figure out what's the market that we believed in and what we wanted to kind of build. That is


Kevin Carney 04:06

a big transition. I mean, we came from the big corporate world as well. And and not everyone can do that. Right? There's some comfort and security and having a corporate job and having hierarchy and annual performance reviews. And when you got on your own you said you had a prior company before Zinnia you get everything just like hits you right in the face, right? Like payroll hits you in the face and next capital raise and what you're gonna deliver to your customers and customers saying, I don't like this like that. That's that's really tough. How do you I mean, seriously, what I'm what we're talking about the transition, but how do you how do you do that? You have to have like, very thick skin or maybe it just, it rolls off your back? I don't know. Like, how do you how do you adapt to that?


Lauren Goodell 04:51

I think spending what, seven eight years in corporate sales where you're told no 95% the time really is really helpful, but it's also different When you're, you know, somebody's like, No, I don't want to pay for Microsoft's product that is so far removed from me. But when it comes down to, oh, I don't like what you're building, this is your baby and getting told your baby's ugly, right? You just have to have such deep conviction in what you're doing. And so that's where I feel like with Zinnia, at least, I know that what I'm building is something that I wish I had when I was in corporate. And so it makes it a lot easier to be like, okay, sorry that you don't see this, but I do, right. But yeah, the transition and taking a 95% pay cut was really fun. It was really, really fun.


Kevin Carney 05:30

We understand that. Does it get better after 10 years? I don't know. We're still at the 95. But that's what they say. So but but this idea of someone says your baby is ugly. I mean, you did. You did pivot once, which was any error. Right? And it seems to be a great pivot. Explain that a little bit.


Lauren Goodell 05:50

It has been Yeah. So we we launch into the premise of helping automate the way that distributed teams come together. So kind of this future of work mentality where most people are either remote first or, you know, hybrid and getting teams together. When I was in corporate sales teams at Microsoft and Salesforce, there was many times I got stuck being the person to plan our sales kickoffs and our QB ours, and it's a huge lift, and it's very thankless. And so the thought process was how do we actually automate this process for people who it's not their full time job to play in these things? How do we make this a higher ROI of if I am going to pay for 200 of my salespeople to get together? To how do we make sure that this is actually impactful? Right? So we started by proving out, do people actually need help with this? And are they willing to pay for it. And we did that by just me manually planning off sites by myself for a couple months, which was my worst nightmare. But the thing is, what we learned is people hated doing it, and they were willing to pay to get help planning. Through that, then we decided, Okay, it's time to build an MVP, push something out there to show how we can automate it. And what we realized is you can't automate the nuance of events. So while we were actually profitable, and we had, you know, 40, some paying customers, and it was awesome. We just realized that we are a venture backed company, and we can't have a scalable services based companies for linear. So um, but yeah, I mean, the thing is, is we had paying customers that loved us, we were able to actually divest that part of the business and they're still sticking with, you know, that team that was doing the manual planning. But through that some of those customers have now transitioned over to Zinnia as it is today. So


Kevin Carney 07:31

you made that leap of your you got 200 people in the room, and those 200 people while you may be working on the logistics of that you attend, people come into the room that didn't know each other, right future of work, they're all remote, maybe they know each other via teams, or slack or whatnot, but but they don't really know each other, and what kind of the part of that that event is to bond together. But but we know that's it's, you know, like, middle schoolers at a dance, right? Like, like, everyone kind of goes off in their own groups and doesn't really mingle a little bit. So you had brought together some information on those people to allow them to connect to people or sit in the right table. You have a phrase serendipitous connections like that,


Lauren Goodell 08:12

for serendipity if we're serendipity, right, so one of the things we started doing with our clients was, you know, they only had sales, kickoffs once a year and QBRs, obviously, four times a year. So, that's called math on the fly. So, but we would have these events that were


Kevin Carney 08:27

quarterly QBRs supposed to be quarterly.


Bill Clerici 08:29

Yes. are typically our yearly quarterly report. Yeah.


Kevin Carney 08:33

Yeah. ABRs QBRs, but also manually. That's an inside joke there.


Lauren Goodell 08:40

Yeah, well, it sounds like you needed any 1.0 to help you plan those things. But yeah, we would do these events. And then our customers would be like, hey, this was awesome. But now we have, you know, AWS is engaged conference in Vegas, and we want to have an ancillary event for our prospects. Can you guys help plan that, and what we realized to through the process is while an off site typically has 40 Plus vendors per event, because it's a week long thing, those kind of ancillary events to conferences or prospect happy hours, prospect events is like one to two vendors. So that was a lot easier for us to actually automate. And we started doing more of those client facing events, or what we call RB E's, relationship building events. But where that ended up going, was our clients would say, hey, these, we want to plan an event. How do we actually drive attendance to the event? So what we started doing was pulling the demographic data and affinity profiles are the people that we're targeting. So if we're like, Hey, your here's your 20 targets that are going to this, you know, AWS conference, Microsoft conference, whatever it may be in Vegas, you're targeting CMOS. 70% of them are female, instead of renting a football box, why don't we run out of drive our salon and give everyone a free blowout and drive attendance that way and so what we started doing is pulling more deeper profiles on not only demographics, like female or male, but also are these foodies are these people that Have? Are they adrenaline junkie? Should you send them to a go kart track? Right? Well cooking class or Exactly, exactly. And then from there, our clients were like, Wait, this is great. We love this. But we don't actually care about the event. We just want this data on the people. And that's really where we transitioned into the big pivot into once in yesterday. Yeah, I


Kevin Carney 10:19

saw someone a couple years ago talked about a an ambassador, an ambassador, like, got off a plane, and there's some guy that hands him a portfolio. They're about to meet the president of Uzbekistan, I'm making something up here. And the ambassador comes off the plane shakes his hand says, oh, you know, how, how's your seven year old son doing? And you know, how was your heart condition like, like, they knew all these weird things about that guy, but it made such a personal relationship, right? And they probably knew those things in the first place, but maybe need reminded of them more things, jog your memory. But all of a sudden, you get past like you said, How's the weather? And how's Pakistan today? You can get some more meaningful conversations. Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 11:03

we talked about this all the time. But it's like one of those things, you go to a dinner party, not even work related, right. And you are sitting there all night, kind of making small talk with somebody next to you. And then three fourths of the way through the dinner, you realize you both hiked Machu Picchu, and all of a sudden, it's like, oh, my gosh, we have this amazing thing in common. And we are bonding over this. And now they're my new best friend. And that's where we really say that for serendipity. It's like instead of waiting, you know, two hours at a dinner party, you can walk in and know, Hey, these are the things that I have in common that I'm passionate about talking about, or even just seating those people next to each other. So you kind of have that, you know, opportunity to connect, right?


Kevin Carney 11:35

I've always wondered like, you go to these dinner parties, or socials. And you do have that coincidental meeting with someone he happened, talk about the same sort of thing. But I look at the other 19 people in the room and think, What do I have in common with those people, because that might have something really close to be in common. I grew up near them. We both have a certain make of car like like there could be something that that I'm connected, I don't know what it is. And so by knowing what it is, and you can even drive towards that all of a sudden you get those coincidences that happen a lot more often.


Lauren Goodell 12:06

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Makes a lot more fun.


Kevin Carney 12:09

So we had you in here for our AI Expo back in October. And because we wanted you to showcase right so we had some income showcase and your Showcase we had people vote and with with using like poker chips, and your Showcase got the most number of votes. People love it. So clearly has an appetite for that. And you had a dossier on Bill over here. No, sure. But what I liked about that dossier is you can get kind of like, you know, name rank and serial number from LinkedIn. I can find Bill's picture, I can find where he used to work, I can find his roles. Things along those lines. But I can't find out that you know, he's to play high school football. Or you've been doing softball for years. Oh, right. I've


Bill Clerici 13:04

never played softball. Baseball. Yeah, sorry, sorry.


Kevin Carney 13:10

But you know, you know, find those things. And what I liked about what you had in their dossier is you found some of the things that you can't just readily find. And you also had some of his opinions, because he's been on some podcasts. And he gave some of his opinion about how software should be built. And you had some of the opinions in there. He feels like the key to delivering software is X, Y, and Z. And you had that in there. You can't find that from LinkedIn. But you're also you know, what makes Bill tick? Actually don't want anyone to know me. Yeah, my favorite beer makes built.


Lauren Goodell 13:42

My favorite fact on that one was that Bill once dreamed of being a volcanologist. Oh, yes.



I still dream of it.


Lauren Goodell 13:47

I was like, Where did this come from? But apparently, one of your podcasts you were on? We're talking about it?


Kevin Carney 13:52

Yes. Yes. Yeah. I think you took rocks for jocks and fell in love with it. Never



took rocks.


Kevin Carney 14:00

So you didn't want to be a volcanologist? And then you realized what? Oh, that you don't make any money doing it. And no one no one wants to leave Volcanology and so there's no jobs? Yes. What


Bill Clerici 14:09

do you find out is in geology that geology people live to be 130 years old, and they never leave their job. So you either you know, so even if you get a PhD, the odds of getting something you know that you want to do is pretty, pretty low. Yeah, pretty low. Are you gonna get sent out and be working for some oil company in the middle of nowhere, so Gotcha. Yeah. And I was like, oh, I should probably go back to school and get a real degree.


Kevin Carney 14:33

Alright, so we're gonna pause for just a second. We're gonna go into a fun fun segment here. Let's do it. Alright. Celebrity dossiers Okay, so if you're using your your AI magic, your Zinnia AI magic on on some of these celebrities. You would find certain things about them. And I'm gonna see if you know what, I know that I looked up on the internet interweb a few minutes ago. You got on the line I got on the line. Okay. Okay, number one, Halle Berry. Halle Berry was named after a Halley's Comet be a department store. See Jack Haley, who was played the Tin Man and the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.


Lauren Goodell 15:16

We're gonna say three because it's oddly specific.


Kevin Carney 15:18

I'll be specific. Right? I'll be wrong. Oh, sure. Where's your very go. So, drink, drink. So she was born in Cleveland, Ohio and the department store. Haley brothers was more than landmarks. They're fascinating. Yeah, I guess her mom really liked that. I think her name was Marie Haley. And then they switched it when she was very young, but very,


Lauren Goodell 15:43

very interesting.


Kevin Carney 15:44

I looked. I looked up someone else's name Haley. And as Hailey Joe Osmond. I'm like, Yeah, I can't work that in there. I see that people. Yeah. All right. So number two. You did Zinnia did an AI dossier on Jake. Gyllenhaal Guillen Hall Gyllenhaal which we're talking about? Yeah, but yeah, I


Lauren Goodell 16:06

think so. Jake Gyllenhaal? I think Shawn Hall


Kevin Carney 16:08

Okay, who is Jake Gyllenhaal is godmother. A Jamie Lee Curtis. B Gina Davis. See Michelle Pfeiffer


Lauren Goodell 16:19

is it bad that I only know the first person? Oh, you know, Gina


Kevin Carney 16:22

Davis. She was in League of her own she was in Beetlejuice. Yeah. Oh, okay. All right. Did tell yourself I for sure. Was what was the name Cisco



ONE funny enough that her in Halle Berry? Both cat woman?


Kevin Carney 16:40

Oh, she was cat woman wasn't she? She was also in


Bill Clerici 16:44

Greece too. Yes. Greece to pink ladies. I don't know what that means. Yeah, I hear things.


Lauren Goodell 16:49

We're gonna go with option B B


Kevin Carney 16:51

Gina Davis. Jamie Lee Curtis. You should pick the one you know. Yeah. Jamie Lee Curtis is close to Jake Gyllenhaal his parents and is known the actress entire life.


Lauren Goodell 17:00



Kevin Carney 17:02

Another interesting fact is that Jake is himself as the godfather to Heath Ledger's daughter. Wow. We're showing your age bill. Me You know I am alright. Number three. Denzel Washington is known for having permanently dislocated a body part. What part A is shoulder. B his pinkie see his knee?


Lauren Goodell 17:29

I think it's pinky right this pinky? I think this one is Pinky is all like


Kevin Carney 17:37

he played football. He was a receiver and he caught a lot of balls the wrong way. And in his words, his his pinky finger is now a gummy bear. Oh, and there's pictures of it just like totally. And he's like yeah, look my finger. Speaking of Gina Davis, we can bring the picture up fresh really good. picture of what Gina Davis she's the next one. Oh, think of thing of Beetlejuice. Okay, right. Gina Davis almost made the Olympic US Olympic team and what sport a softball be archery see fencing.


Lauren Goodell 18:18

Okay, so you said she was in League of league of their own? Yep. And that's a baseball.


Kevin Carney 18:23

That'd be a song.


Lauren Goodell 18:23

So we're gonna say softball.


Kevin Carney 18:27

Yeah, no archery.


Lauren Goodell 18:28

fascinate. Oh, there you go. Archery.


Kevin Carney 18:30

So she took up the sport at 41 years old, in 1997, and she plays 24th In the US qualifiers for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Wild Yeah, right. So if you're a big archery fan, you should Ginny Davis at the function. don't pester go Yeah. All right. Now another celebrity dossier. If you create as any a dossier on Kevin Carney, you would probably find that I like to a it's it's gonna be fine build



a resume, please get


Kevin Carney 19:06

HR be ready with it. Like the the sensor, a swim, be played basketball, see curl up with a good book.


Lauren Goodell 19:17

Sob play


Kevin Carney 19:19

basketball. So



as a his I in.


Kevin Carney 19:24

In in college, I was on the intramural basketball team for a fraternity. And I was on the E team, which is after the D team. And I was a substitute on the E team and as my roommate would tell you, my name was Sharkbait Oh, because when we get the ball like the feeding frenzy, no, I I'm horrible basketball. You were a substitute



on the fifth level.


Kevin Carney 19:52

I swim. Okay.


Lauren Goodell 19:53

Yeah. Oh, that's right. That's trying triathlete. Yep. Yep. I should have known that one. Early me. All


Kevin Carney 19:59

right. Now it's your turn. Okay, so we do a celebrity dossier okay I'm Lauren Goodell what do we find?


Lauren Goodell 20:05

If we do a celebrity dossier? A I ran track at university Nebraska


Kevin Carney 20:14

being tall so I tracks


Lauren Goodell 20:20

tracks. The I had a show on MTV about me. Or see I rescue cats.


Kevin Carney 20:30

Is there a D like all the above? I'm not buying the cats. I don't know. Got me. I'm going for track track. I'm going for track track.


Lauren Goodell 20:40

Please sound the wrong buzzer mega buzzer what was it? I had a show on MTV when I went I'm 16 years old. Really? Yes. What would I do tell I have gotten it mostly removed off of lime. So you cannot laugh me about it. But


Kevin Carney 21:01

I was so searching this. Jana Jana. Okay.


Lauren Goodell 21:04

It was it was called MTB road of the woods and road to the Woody's okay. And it was a Driving Challenge. Where I would do like, driving challenges where I would have to go around to different things and speed and go to track and what if I beat all five challenges? I got to go present an award at them to be what do you awards in New York? Oh, what are the what do you want? It's like an indie music festival. But I sat next to Cyndi Lauper. Oh, and I have. I was so excited. And you have what you I gotta hug Pete Wentz. Pete. When's Fallout boy? My my little email heart in high school. It was great. Sure. Yep.


Kevin Carney 21:48

That's awesome. Wow. Wow. So you're, you're a driver. You're a racer?


Lauren Goodell 21:56

You know, according to my track record with car accidents, I wouldn't say I'm a great one. Okay. Well, you know, most of them aren't my fault. Defensive Driving is not my thing.


Kevin Carney 22:07

I can I have YouTube videos to prove that I'm in your boat, or a car.



So Kevin, you swim?


Kevin Carney 22:15

I swim when she Yeah, she's on YouTube, or she's on MTV doing car racing. Yeah, that's cool. It's pretty. It's about saying Yeah. All right. I'm done now. Where were we? Okay, we're done with that page. Okay, so let's talk about your AI and how you build your your dossier. So I know you've got the daily the daily dossier, which is kind of a little snippet. And you also are working on your new product, the Zinnia. Pro, I think, as you call it, right? Yep. And you're doing some of that. You're filling it out as you're getting product market fit, and some people are buying it from you. Tell us a bit about that. And how that's going. Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 23:04

so we we launched the new daily as kind of that free, you know, thing for people to use to kind of get an experience isn't yet the most importantly, so nice teaser that's really good to get to get as much feedback as possible. So


Kevin Carney 23:15

try before you buy the dime bag before you get hooked. Oh, yes, this escalated. It's a it's an it's a


Lauren Goodell 23:24

gateway drug. Yeah, it is a gateway drug to any pro for


Kevin Carney 23:26

sure. Back to the 12 step program.


Lauren Goodell 23:30

But yeah, so we really wanted to launch that as you know, startup world launch as soon as you can, as fast as you can before you're ready. And we want to just to get as much feedback and users using it as possible. And with that, people fell in love with the product. And granted, it's not great right now it's really early, but it is providing a lot of value. And so


Kevin Carney 23:53

can I just offer things I love that phrase, and that is not that great, because so many clients come in and like I can't release it until it's perfect. And then a year goes by and the opportunity has passed them by so I love the warts and all kind of approach. But you get feedback, right? Yeah. So why go down the path and make it perfect when no one really wants that?


Lauren Goodell 24:12

Exactly, exactly. So we launched that. But we actually, you know, kind of had a greater vision of having a deeper data set and being able to apply your own sales enablement, tools and knowledge to the specific person and company you're selling to. And so that's really been the vision. But through that process, we had a couple of inbound customers that were like, Hey, we love sending a daily so much. We want to buy a paid version with more richer data for our sales teams. And I'm like, it doesn't really fully exist yet. Right? We're manually pulling some of this we have some endpoints we're touching. So we do have to paying a design partner customers that are working with us to kind of iterate on what's the most important data, how do we want to apply that data? How do we want to match what you know, sales enablement, tools you have with this book? Are we ever kind of launching thing publicly? So we're actually not even selling is in your pro yet? And we're trying not to unless someone has a lot of money that they want, right? Yeah, I mean, we luckily do have inbounds every week, people are like, Hey, we're ready to buy this when it's ready. And we're just, you know, trying to take as much time to build the right thing versus just to sell anything


Kevin Carney 25:17

right? There. We're like to ever approach because you'd produce some human powered automation there. But until you know what you really want, why spend all that time, effort money and putting yourself into a corner when you do a manual a little bit, and see what I mean, because your design partners, excuse me, they're going to understand what they like, but they don't like what's helpful, what's not helpful, there might be different personas that want different things. I know we've been going through an exercise like this internally bill, where it's 2024, we're starting the new strategy for the new year. And let's go look at a new group of target customers and target companies. And then people will work with those companies. And our information is then I mean, we can go search a little bit here and there, but I would love to be able to go, you know, order dossiers on 20 Different companies, or once I get this point of companies know that people that fit our personas are, it's a little bit of a reverse of, instead of I know this person, I want other information, I might say this is what I'm looking for, can you find me the right people to go talk to? So I can I'm anxiously waiting for Pro to come out so we can leverage it as well.


Lauren Goodell 26:28

Yes. Oh, we'd love to hear that too. Right. Yeah, I mean, some of the things that we're we've been learning through the process, too, is not only is it important to be able to figure out more information on the people you are meeting with, but like you said, Maybe I am this is a prospective customer. And while this person is my target, is there somebody else at the company that I have, and then 99% similarity with, right? That I could actually bring in as a champion, create a bond with them, and help them better their own, you know, career job position, whatever it may be, in order to kind of continue to make a sale.


Kevin Carney 27:00

So like, here's a target company that I want to go approach. Is there someone else at that company that when they were 16 years old, they had a episode on on MTV, right or a show on MTV? Right? Correct. Connect with them?


Lauren Goodell 27:14

Yeah, cuz there's those people everywhere. So


Kevin Carney 27:18

we're not in that in that group that league but you know, mortally ever own a. Okay, all right, so So you're you're grabbing this information, I'm sure he went into some some traditional sources, like screen scraping or a grabbing API's, things like that. And then you're also using AI to do what like how are you sussing out information or summarizing information that you're gathering.


Lauren Goodell 27:43

So we really built Zinnia around specifically for salespeople to make salespeople jobs easier to help them better connect with customers, we're learning now a lot of other people are finding, you know, benefit from it, recruiters, stuff like that. But really the lens that we're putting on it is what did I do when I was at Microsoft and Salesforce that made me so successful as a salesperson. And some of those things included? Reading 180, page 10k reports. And I know it's everybody's favorite book, it's very fun. But being able to understand how executive teams are compensated, you know, what trends are going in the company, we can even I mean, some of them even talk about where investments have been made in technology specifically. So being able to say like, oh, they just bought this, they're not going to buy this again anytime soon. Or, oh, wow, they're hiring, you know, 900 marketing people, they're probably going to buy a marketing technology to support these people. So being able to kind of suss out that information. We're using vector databases, semantic search, we're layering similarity search on there in there to be able to help match the right sales reps with the right prospects. So there's a lot of those kinds of things and of course, you know, a thinly veiled rapper on Chad GPT and, and Bard and that kind of type of thing to just to kind of create basic summaries


Kevin Carney 29:00

yep, yep, that example uses one of our showcase that we did I think was right next door to you. Reagan, Barrington and Madison Garrity right they did they crushed it. Yeah. There's there's with the second highest vote for showcases, but they took a 50 page debt prospectus and load into vector database and sussed out all the details of the tranches and whatnot. So yeah, kudos to them for doing that because they did it in their spare time. As part of when we're honing your craft period, so the fact that they just didn't know what they were getting into, and they just knocked it out, and like a week, it was pretty good. Yeah. It speaks for their talent. Okay, so switching gears a little bit here. Another one of your talents is you're a comedian. Yeah, how they go last week. So explain why you were comedian. I know I couldn't attend because I had a conflict. I was on the panel conversation, but how did it go and what did you learn?


Lauren Goodell 29:57

Okay, so for content Next, another fellow founder here in Charlotte. Christina Nicodemus is amazing. We kind of had this agreement a couple of years ago that we were going to just do some crazy crazy, like random things together. So, you


Kevin Carney 30:12

know, holding client holding hands and jumping off the cliff into the water kind of thing, truly.


Lauren Goodell 30:16

So we're like, Okay, let's go Axe Throwing, let's go do aerial yoga, right. Like, let's just try new things. And that was kind of our goal together. It's just like, Let's experience new things. And so one of the things that we decided, have


Kevin Carney 30:28

you done those two things? Axe Throwing and arrow yoga? Yeah, we same time.


Lauren Goodell 30:32

It's the same time. Yes. It's very fun. Yeah,


Kevin Carney 30:35

at the same time, that'd be great.


Lauren Goodell 30:39

They were actually part of my standup routine. So nice.


Kevin Carney 30:43

silks, is that? Okay? Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 30:45

exactly. But we kind of had this goal that we would just do some random fun things together. And one of the things that we came up with was that we wanted to do stand up comedy. And neither of us have ever done it. And we're just like, this would be just really fun. And our goal was to do it at like an open mic night at a brewery where there's like six people who don't even care that you're up there, right. Like, we were like, let's just get up there. Break out of our shell, just do something fun. And I posted on Instagram, a picture of me and her up like scoping out or open mic night. And Todd Bulow from dual boot was like, messaged me, actually, he called me immediately and he's like us, you stand up? Absolutely not know why. It's like I saw your post. And were you having a charity event for Daddy Rose Foundation. So if you're familiar with Danny rose, it's supporting Girls in Tech and stem for students. And he was like, Hey, would you want to like emcee this? It's at comedy zone. And then it turned into Do you want to do a five minute bit in front of 250 people, which is what I ended up being Wow. And it was great. That's


Kevin Carney 31:49

that's pretty bold. I'd much rather wax throwing or falling off those


Lauren Goodell 31:53

silks? Yeah, but we raised $18,000. That's great. Which is awesome. Yeah. And it was, honestly, it was a ton of fun.


Kevin Carney 31:59

Yeah. How did it go? The what was what was your set on?


Lauren Goodell 32:03

You know, it was a little all over the place. I talked about some funny family traditions. Yeah. Including a family tradition. A feeling game us have a family game nights. Sure. Yeah. What kind of games have you play?


Kevin Carney 32:16

I don't know. We have a funny story from taboo. Taboo. Taboo. Yeah. Yeah, like goes back to when our son was born. That's different story. Yeah, we the gadelle. Family. us play a game called bud darts. Oh, yes. Yeah. Okay. Oh,


Lauren Goodell 32:36

it's totally appropriate. We were fully closed. Let me just be clear. But you'd put a coffee mug on the floor, and then everyone has to squeeze a quarter. Bottle over the cup. And then like, try to drop it in the cup. Yeah, so introducing people your family's fun. Okay. Yeah. So talked about that a little bit. You know,


Kevin Carney 33:01

this is I've actually done that before, but it's more of like a Space Camp thing where you're trying to aim for like this suction cup of the, on the International Space Station. Okay, which is the thing you have to learn to practice that too. It's a little like pin the tail on the toilet kind of thing. Okay, where you put something on your button, there's Velcro to it to go down and see where you hit. See where you're aimed.


Lauren Goodell 33:22

Okay, yeah, I mean, hey, you know, so what you're saying is, it was all in science, all for science. They just want to be an astronaut.


Kevin Carney 33:30

But darts, so I'm astronaut did there any more coffee splashed. So, like, I understand how NASA might might start this. How did the gadelle Family Start this?


Lauren Goodell 33:50

I really don't know. Two brothers. I do have an older brother. Yeah, yeah. But I sent the video to my my parents after and they're like you didn't tell everyone.


Kevin Carney 34:05

Ma was the instigator wasn't sure.


Lauren Goodell 34:08

Exactly, exactly. But no, it was it was a good time. It was super fun. Well,


Kevin Carney 34:12

that's pretty impressive. And Christine did well to Christine crush that she's


Lauren Goodell 34:16

hilarious. Yes.


Kevin Carney 34:17

I would imagine she's got that like dry sense of humor. Yes. Right. Yes. Yeah.


Lauren Goodell 34:21

I'll have to get by David. Yeah, I


Kevin Carney 34:23

have to watch that. Okay, which is pretty good. So I'm just touching on Christine a little bit. So you're part of is it when you when Gwen when? Okay. So that's female founders. And it's how you know, Christine? Or maybe no, Christine then put that together. But tell us about Gwen and was mission is and what you're trying to accomplish?


Lauren Goodell 34:49

Yeah, so Gwen is growing Women's Entrepreneur network, and it's focused on female founders here in Charlotte. And the whole focus is, obviously only 1.9% of venture capital funding went to females and In 2022, It's so pathetic. Yes. So wild. Yeah, it's obviously a convoluted issue, right? Like, it's not just that, you know, people don't want to support women. But historically, you know, women take less risks, but also don't have the right amount of support, you know, in so many different aspects, but the whole tagline for it is helping women build big gas companies. And what that means is, do we help them get funding? Do we help with mentorship and support, find customers? Or do we say, Hey, you're an incredible entrepreneur, but your idea is not investable. So let's help you find one that is or help you grow the vision. But it really started with Ashley, GoPro is the partner at Creative co capital here in Charlotte. And she got maybe four or five of us together for dinner two years ago in January, and was like, there's not a lot of female founders here, I thought it'd be good to introduce all of you guys just wanted to start, you know, getting us together, support each other. And it slowly grew into becoming a nonprofit. And now there's over 200 members, and we get together almost, you know, every quarter officially, but this group is really become the complete support system. That's that is how I met Christine. Yes, through that dinner two years ago. So


Kevin Carney 36:10

you know that it's pretty neat. I mean, how do you find it? They're women, they're already entrepreneurs, it's easy to like, bring them into the fold and help them with their journey. How do you find the ones are stuck at Salesforce? Nothing against Salesforce, or Microsoft, but the big corporations? Right? We've got a lot of big, big banks and energy companies in Charlotte, how do you find those hidden entrepreneur women that need to come out of their shell and take a little bit of risk and get support that that their idea is a good idea? Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 36:38

we talked about this all the time. And we talk a lot about we use the word entrepreneur. So it's somebody that's like, I want to be an entrepreneur, but I'm not ready to take the jump. I don't know exactly what I'm doing, you know, I need the support. But a big thing that I would say that I would look for, and I talked about Lena ventures about this a lot and when they were kind of looking for the next entrepreneurs to bring in to the studio is who is on in a corporate job that is going above and beyond to take on stretch projects to create things like at Salesforce, I launched Salesforce Women's Network for the southeast. It didn't exist. So I became president of that. All right, I was you know, doing that while playing Candy Crush on my phone. In customer meetings. I was like, I'm bored give me something more to do. We have to find those people that are like really trying to you know, almost be an intrapreneur at the company. Sure.


Kevin Carney 37:27

Right. Right. Yeah. So you know as much as I agree with the the lack of women representing the representation not the right word, but it it it's it is a guy's market, right. But it was reflecting and starting to write down some of the women I know in technology in Charlotte and yet, Christine Nicodemus which is now with way Haven right in new ventures she has, but she already had an exit from aperture. Yeah. We all know a roof and bought splash. I had to write all these down because I can't remember them all here. GLORIA fuller Ron, from lien time who we had earlier. Last year is one of our guests. She's great. Angel, Rutledge, genius and beautify who we also had as a podcast. Ashlyn Greer from fashionably. Charlotte catalogers. Wanna Lisa Dunbar from paradigm personality labs? I think you'd made the last couple of introductions to us. Yeah. Sarah, yourselves, herself. Garcia's Roselli from I'm tech rep tech labs Priya Milani from stash wealth. Alex Alexandria, O'Rourke from Victoria like this. It's getting better. It's not getting better. Right. And I'm, I completely agree with you. It's a complicated scenario. And it's not what it's multifaceted. I think I used you mentioned in earlier podcast. But my personal experiences, I found that there's a confidence there's a confidence barrier. And I'm speaking from experience from not just like, women in my life in my neighbors, whatnot, but they they are awesome. And they rocket what they do, and they'll tell you that they're not really good at it. And I don't know whether it's just being humble or whether they really think that but I am astounded by some of the things that I see Amelia not really like good at it. Like so this is a confidence boost that people need. Yeah, it's really impressive. What what what they can do that Rosa can do. Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 39:31

we always say, you know, you should walk into the room with the competence of a middle aged white man. So Oh, to that. No, it's a good thing.



Yeah, I'm not middle aged. Middle aged.


Kevin Carney 39:44

Yeah. No, but you're absolutely right. There's a lot of there's a lot of underdone swagger. Yeah. Middle aged white men. Absolutely. Yep. And young white men too, but that's


Lauren Goodell 39:52

true. Maybe even more, right? Yeah.



I don't care for him either. Yeah,


Lauren Goodell 39:59

I mean, I'm kidding. We need our allies for


Kevin Carney 40:01

surely to what to make is a political statement. But there there's a lot of unearned confidence in this world that needs to be and vice versa. So alright, so shameless plug. I think there's an event coming up see the South? Yeah. May 14 to 15th. Yes. Yeah. And is that being sponsored by Gwen? So


Lauren Goodell 40:21

Gwen is? So Jenny Ferris is one of the people that is in charge of organizing it. She's a board member of Gwen. And Gwen will be having some events there. But I don't I mean, I don't know if it's exactly sponsored, I


Kevin Carney 40:34

went to the site, and there are at least one of the sponsors perfect,


Lauren Goodell 40:38

even Yes, we are sponsoring see this out? Yes, it's gonna be great. It's gonna be an awesome, awesome event, though.


Kevin Carney 40:44

I mean, it but the good part there whether, you know, I don't know how big of a role when will happen there. But it is the point of it is to provide a forum for seed capital, in Charlotte and surrounding areas. And I think a lot of that is geared towards female founders or underrepresented founders. Exactly. Okay. Okay, so wrapping up a little bit. Sure. What is in store for the last over the next 12 months? So we're gonna go on a couple different tangents here. One is what sort of upcoming products and features are you're coming up with? And you had mentioned in the past? Like, when someone walks into see the South, and you've got a camera recognition going in there and like, oh, you know, being that that's Bill Carisi. And Bill miss from Buffalo and used to play not softball, baseball. Yeah. Or, in theory, you can translate that to these, these metal glasses, if you've seen them with Ray Bans, that kind of camera built in. So I'm walking down the street, and I'm like, oh, that person like Machu Picchu? Like, like, correct. Is there is there weird stuff like that in the future? Or at least on the roadmap somewhere, like in the method that the far future but the near future?


Lauren Goodell 42:05

Yeah, so in the next episode of Black Mirror Zinnia will?



Oh my god, that would be so awesome. Yes. Yeah, no.


Kevin Carney 42:13

Joan is awful. Exactly. My wife's name is Jones. Yeah, like that episode. Oh,


Lauren Goodell 42:18

that was creepy. Really, really creepy. Yeah. But ya know, I mean, are kind of the next product releases. And what we're pushing out is a lot of the features that we have been asking and been asked for. So we will kind of start having a Zinnia daily plus, if you will, that will actually provide more of those talking points, conversation starters, it will start layering your bio with the people you're meeting with to actually add a little bit more of that data in there. But the thing is, we're adding to our ability to connect multiple calendars have public or private events, kind of toggle them on and off, because I know a lot of people have, you know, personal events on their calendar. And I don't really care that much about what my dentist, you know, wants to do. So, yeah, yeah, yeah, be able to take those things on and off, adding timezone. How much are they willing to pay for that? Exactly. So sometimes they could ask


Kevin Carney 43:05

them questions. Well, they've got their tools in their mouth, word of mouth is all numb, or they can, they'll they'll know, and


Lauren Goodell 43:10

they always do, they always ask. But yeah, so we're adding some of those kind of like, you know, features to start customizing and really diving a little bit deeper into the daily. And so all of that actually, our next release for this onboarding will be next week. And then for more of the personalized experience, that will be a paid version, and that we're looking at probably a month and a half out for presenting a daily and then we're just going to keep iterating on Zinio pro until we feel like we're in a really good spot to bring it into beta. But yes, like some of the things that we are working on for more of a creative standpoint, or even more of just like a go to market standpoint to get excitement is you know, there's obviously a lot of facial recognition software out there. And being able to pair that and say, Hey, this is Kevin Carney walking up here and he is a terrible basketball player. So don't ask him to be on your team. You know.


Kevin Carney 44:01

Thanks a lot.


Lauren Goodell 44:03

This rap sheet. Exactly.


Kevin Carney 44:07

So you did mention way back when about how if you did see that 200 people coming into an event as they walk in the door and you knew alleging facial recognition on everyone like minor report by doing facial recognition on 200 people, it's a pretty decent chance I can know what that person is exactly and pop up if you predetermine facts on those that person as they walk in, right, like that would be fun and creepy at the same time.


Lauren Goodell 44:36

Exactly. Exactly. We in the fun. I think, you know, people love to people love themselves, frankly, you know, like, it's like, Oh, what is this know about me? So they're able to walk up and say like, oh, this is who it is. But we are wanting to take it one step further to make it more fun specifically for things like see this out, where you can walk up and say, oh, yeah, this, this is Kevin. And you should really talk to Bill because of XY and Z, right? So that way you can kind of bring in that networking aspect of you know, you can meet people that you didn't know before and actually have something to talk to them about.


Kevin Carney 45:04

Awesome. All right, so where does someone get more information about as in? Yeah, yes. So it was plug,


Lauren Goodell 45:11

get zinnia.ai in Zinnia, Zi and Nia, so


Kevin Carney 45:18

Well, Lauren, thanks for attending, and thanks for joining us. Really appreciate it.


Lauren Goodell 45:21

Thanks so much for having me. It's a blast bill.


Kevin Carney 45:23

Thank you for doing your sound and audio engineer or video engineer.



You're welcome. But thanks me once you're here.


Kevin Carney 45:28

Rashmi, thank you for organizing is all the time and our social media posts. Appreciate it. All right. Well, you've joined us for one more episode of beyond the bill podcast, where we showcase interesting innovators in the Charlotte area until the next podcast, go build something awesome.

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