SentinelOnes first investor also wrote Zooms first check

    • Dan Scheinman did not even wait to hear a pitch before writing the first check into Zoom.
    • He was also SentinelOne’s angel, which became the most valuable cybersecurity IPO Wednesday.
    • Scheinman tells us why he’s extremely choosy, only investing in about one to two companies a year.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When longtime Cisco executive Dan Scheinman heard his former colleague Eric Yuan was developing a video conferencing app in 2011, he did not even wait to hear a pitch before writing the first check into


Yuan had tried unsuccessfully to develop the app at Cisco but, as we previously reported, higher ups were not interested. He struggled to attract seed investors and even his own wife was skeptical of the idea. 

What did Scheinman see that inspired him to write a $250,000 check without skipping a beat?

For one thing, he liked that Yuan was in his forties at a time most investors were only interested in backing hotshot young founders.

“If you just try to copy what everyone else is doing, you’re going to end up with sixth- and seventh-tier companies,” Scheinman said. 

He also felt Yuan possessed the perfect qualities to be successful. He was more interested in that than the actual substance of whatever Yuan was pitching.

“In this business when you’re investing early, you’re investing in people,” Scheinman said. “You’re looking for those rare founders who have customer love, technical brilliance, and the drive and determination to build greatness. When you run into those, you write a check.” 

Scheinman says it was those same qualities that led him to Tomer Weingarten when he was raising for his cybersecurity startup, SentinelOne, two years later.

“Again, I wrote a check almost on the spot,” Scheinman said. “I did see the presentation that time though.” 

He says he was warned by other investors that the endpoint security market, which protects a users’ devices from being exploited, had too many competitors. 

“People thought it was too late, but I really believed in Tomer’s drive and vision and I really thought he was ultimately going to build the first modern endpoint product, which turned out to be true,” Scheinman said. 

Scheinman was at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday as SentinelOne started trading, with shares opening at $46 dollars a share, well above the $35 IPO price. At market close, its over $10 billion market capitalization made it the biggest cybersecurity IPO in history.

“It’s a really incredible day,” Scheinman said. 

Scheinman’s early involvement meant a board seat and 1,423,149 shares, one of the biggest individual stakes, according to regulatory filings. At the $42.50 closing price on Day 1, that stake is worth more than $60 million.

He also sits on Zoom’s board and owned 1.2% of the company at the time of its 2019 IPO. Zoom now has a market capitalization of more than $114 billion dollars.

Since becoming an

angel investor
a decade ago after leaving Cisco, Scheinman says he’s been extremely choosy, only investing in about one to two companies a year. He also backed Arista Networks and Tango Live, now a streaming platform valued at more than a billion dollars.

Despite his success, Scheinman says his low-key Bay Area lifestyle has remained exactly the same.

“Because I’m older, there’s literally been no change,” Scheinman said. “We stay very grounded. Same wife. Same kids.”

One thing that has changed is the focus of Scheinman’s investments. He says there are now too many investors chasing older founders, so he has had to find a new niche.

“I’m finding technical women have a hard time raising for whatever reason,” Scheinman said. “Four of the last six or seven things I’ve done have been founded by women.”

VP spox Sanders: We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day

  • Symone Sanders, advisor and spokesperson for Kamala Harris, rejected reports about the VP’s office.
  • Reports this week suggested communication with Harris is rarely granted to allies.
  • Sanders defended Harris’ chief of staff Tina Fournoy and said Fournoy has an “open door policy.”

Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, on Wednesday pushed back against reports the VP’s office has limited communication with key allies.

Reports from CNBC and Politico alleged Tina Flournoy, Harris’ chief of staff, has isolated Harris’ allies in recent months, and is highly selective in granting access to the VP among members of her inner circle.

Flournoy is a Washington politics veteran, having worked in the Democratic National Committee and in former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

The reports said Flournoy routinely directs policy questions, such as ones related to immigration, to Harris’ senior advisers, and that donors and some of Harris’ longtime political allies who spoke anonymously feel frozen out.

Sanders defended Flournoy, according to Politico and said Flournoy has an “open door policy.”

“Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina,” Sanders said, calling sources who anonymously criticized Flournoy “cowards.”

“We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day. What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like ‘welcome to the club,'” Sanders told Politico.

“We have created a culture where people, if there is anything anyone would like to raise, there are avenues for them to do so. Whoever has something they would like to raise, they should raise it directly.”

Business growth template from a CEO with $100 million a year revenues – Business Insider

  • Daina Trout is the CEO and cofounder of Health-Ade Kombucha, a beverage brand that she launched in 2012 with her husband and best friend. Over the past year, it’s brought in $100 million in revenues.
  • Health-Ade Kombucha has 300 employees, and has been the fastest-growing kombucha brand in the US over the past three years, according to data company SPINS. More than 35,000 stores sell its products, and it’s stocked in both Whole Foods and Costco. 
  • Trout shared a step-by-step breakdown of her journey so far with Business Insider, complete with all the major milestones she hit along the way.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In 2012, Daina and her husband Justin Trout were living on $7 a day. That same year, along with Daina’s best friend Vanessa Dew, they launched a drinks businesss, Health-Ade Kombucha, and sold their kombucha — a fermented, sweetened tea drink — at farmer’s markets. Now, Health-Ade has 300 employees and produces 60,000 jars a week, and over 35,000 stores sell their products, include branches of Whole Foods and Costco. Over the past year, the company has brought in $100 million in revenue.

Since the launch of Health-Ade, the kombucha industry has boomed. In 2019, the sector reached a global market value of $1.35 billion, and it is expected to pass $8 billion by the end of 2026, according to the market research firm Industry Research. Health-Ade has been at the forefront of that growth: In the past three years, it has contributed 55% of the growth of the kombucha drinks category, more than the next nine brands combined, according to independent data company SPINS, provided to Business Insider by Health-Ade. 

In 2019, Trout made American magazine Inc.’s Female Founder 100 list, and the beverage sector magazine BevNet named her Person Of The Year. 

In an interview with Business Insider, Daina Trout said her number one tip for entrepreneurs was never to look too far ahead. “You take it one step at a time … how will you get to the next level up is more important right now, and ultimately will be key for continuously improving, than knowing how you will get to the top of the staircase,” she said. 

Daina also shared a four-part, step-by-step breakdown of how she and her cofounders grew their business. Here it is, in her own words.

Health Ade cofounders

Health-Ade’s cofounders Daina Trout, Justin Trout, and Vanessa Dew.

Health Ade

Stage 1: Pre-investment

  • We started with no money for ourselves, or the business, and were living on $7 a day. 
  • We worked upwards of 12 hours per day, which involved a lot of physical labor at our brewery, selling at the farmers’ market, and self-distribution. 
  • We were in startup mode, using just our intelligence to improve — we even flipped a 28-foot truck we shouldn’t have been driving, which was full of kombucha.

Stage 2: Post-investment 

  • We learned to fundraise and work with a board. We’ve raised over $50 million over the last eight years. 
  • We learned how to run a company with more than 30 employees and learned from our mistakes (we hired and fired friends, or hired the wrong people altogether.) 
  • First time we learned to pay ourselves! Beautiful!
  • Milestone: Got Health-Ade into to 5,000 stores.

Stage 3:  Getting to $50 million in revenues

  • I learned how to evolve past being a cofounder into being CEO working alongside my husband and best friend.  
  • With manufacturing we continued to scale. (This is a challenge — you’re always behind, it’s expensive and hard to keep up).
  • With nonstop growth comes nonstop challenges. I learned to set boundaries — I had my first child while being CEO. 
  • We reached more than 50 employees and opened a 50,000 square feet brewery in California  
  • In 2018, Health-Ade became one of the fastest-growing refrigerated functional beverage brands in the country.
  • Milestone: Got Health-Ade into 15,000 stores

4th chapter “getting to $100 million in revenues” 

  • Evolving struggles with how we make our kombucha to match scale and maintain compliance. 
  • We joined a community of chief executives from around the world, the Young Presidents’ Organization — forming a community of real partners.
  • We hired more than 150 people and formed an A+ executive/leadership team — my dream team!
  • Health-Ade became the number one kombucha brand in absolute dollar growth, and contributed 80% of the category’s growth in 2019.
  • We needed to drive growth in the brand by bringing even more consumers in and adding excitement to a saturated space — enter Health-Ade Booch Pop (new innovations to come!)
  • Milestone: Got Health-Ade into 35,000 stores and counting!

Hannity privately called Trump batsh-t crazy and stress vaped: book – Business Insider

  • A new book details private conversations the Fox News host Sean Hannity had with friends in which he expressed dismay at what he was hearing from President Donald Trump.
  • “Early on in the Trump age, Hannity gained weight and vaped incessantly, which some members of his inner circle blamed on Trump-related stress,” Brian Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, wrote in “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” set to be published next week.
  • The book — an excerpt of which was published by Vanity Fair on Thursday — says Hannity told a colleague, “If you were hearing what I’m hearing, you’d be vaping too.”
  • “I barely get a word in,” Hannity told another confidant of his conversations with Trump, Stelter wrote.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Seeking an escape from President Donald Trump’s rambling monologues over the phone early in his presidency, the Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity turned to vaping and stress-eating, a new book from CNN’s Brian Stelter says.

“Early on in the Trump age, Hannity gained weight and vaped incessantly, which some members of his inner circle blamed on Trump-related stress,” Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, wrote in his new book, “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” set to be published by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday.

The book — an excerpt of which was published in Vanity Fair on Thursday — says Hannity told a colleague, “If you were hearing what I’m hearing, you’d be vaping too.”

Stelter said he spoke with more than 140 staffers at Fox News and 180 former employees and people “with direct ties to the network” for the book.

The book focuses on Trump’s relationship with Hannity — “the president’s ‘shadow chief of staff,’ as he was known around the White House,” Stelter wrote.

The access Hannity enjoyed also came with some downsides, Stelter’s sources said.

“Hannity counseled Trump at all hours of the day; one of his confidants said the president treated Hannity like Melania, a wife in a sexless marriage,” he wrote. “Arguably, he treated Hannity better than Melania.”

For all his pro-Trump coverage on his 9 p.m. show, Hannity, the longest-serving Fox News anchor, privately griped about the president, the book says.

“‘Hannity would tell you, off-off-off the record, that Trump is a bats— crazy person,’ one of his associates said,” Stelter wrote, adding that another friend told him, “Hannity has said to me more than once, ‘he’s crazy.'”

Hannity also told a colleague that on his calls with Trump, “I barely get a word in,” the book says.

Trump, who often live-tweets Fox News programming, would also chat with Hannity as a fan.

“Trump was just like the rest of Hannity’s viewers: He wanted more of Gregg Jarrett on the show, more of Dan Bongino, more of Newt Gingrich—the toadiest toads possible,” Stelter wrote.