Episode 2: Winning, Failing, and Cannabis in the Investing World Feat. RJ Pahura of Venture Connects and FUND Conference

Brian Burkhart Making Waves Podcast Leave a Comment

In our second episode, we’re joined by RJ Pahura is the CEO and Founder of Venture Connects and the FUND Conference here in Chicago. He’s a driving force in preparing and educating startups, and has created a solid community in the Midwest to forge connections with investors and growing companies. He’s shares solid insights for startups and early growth-stage companies on the hunt for investors. We also get his take on Cannabis as a legally growing market.

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Interview Notes

4:35 – What is the FUND conference?

8:10 – What are startups doing to stand out?

11:20 – What do you look for?

  • Is it a real business?
  • Would we personally invest in them?
  • Would others invest in them?

13:40 – Investing in businesses is just like investing in the stock market.

15:39 – Talk about your idea.

16:53 – What do you say to people who think their idea is a million-dollar idea, but probably isn’t?

19:33 – Questions and myths of investing.

22:28 – What’s going on with the cannabis economy?

26:50 – It’s time to kill the Uber of __________ template. Just stop. Now.

29:51 – RJ’s passion for motorcycles and his take on how they’re making waves.

Find RJ:

VentureConnects.com  |  FundConference.com  |   LinkedIn

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Making Waves Host

Brian Burkhart

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Brian is on faculty at Northwestern University and is Founder of SquarePlanet Presentations in Chicago. Through his work with TED speakers, Shark Tank contestants and business leaders around the globe, Brian’s mission is to help bring innovative ideas to life through the power of communication.

Making Waves Co-Host

Derek Rudel


As SquarePlanet’s Curator of Growth + Marketing Solutions, Derek leverages his unique combination of creative, design and technical skills to lead the charge on all things marketing, community engagement and workflow optimization. He is also the co-host of the Maximizing Opportunity Podcast, and hates the taste of cilantro.