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Join Susan as she interviews Bernadette Butler, the co-founder of StoryTap Technologies. Hear firsthand about her pathway to entrepreneurship, from her endeavors with a lifestyle business to the launching and selling of a prior venture, and her unwavering commitment to marketing and finance.

– Bernadette Butler

Raw And Real Entrepreneurship with Bernadette Butler

Topics covered in the interview

First business

AI in the Marketing space

Business ideation to execution

Getting the capital to start the business

Bernadette Butler’s Bio

Bernadette Butler is the co-founder of StoryTap Technologies, a video production company which has created and placed brand inspired videos that amass MILLIONS of views. She has been in the industry for 25 years and she brings a focus of empathy to her company culture. After creating a financial book club that grew to 500 members across 6 countries, Bernadette created StoryTap Technologies to be the first agency of its kind to make videos for brands, companies, and social media that share perspectives and experiences from across the world. 

As a company, StoryTap Technologies aims to increase brand conversion by 40% and decrease call center volume by the same amount. They have worked with over 20 enterprise customers such as Veet, KY, and UCLA, and the impact of their videos is felt globally. StoryTap creates data driven videos to scale and emphasizes the need for recession proof videos. They believe in using customers as advocates via video content for brands to tell their story.  As a company StoryTap donates to the local food bank each year and they offer free services to nonprofits. They help refine brand websites with more video content and reduced typed clutter. 

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Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Susan Sly 00:02
This is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that brings the no nonsense truth of what is required to start, grow and scale your business. I am your host Susan Sly.

Susan Sly 00:16
Well, what is up Raw and Real entrepreneurs wherever you are in the world, I hope you are having an incredible day and my guest today is, we started talking I'm like, Ah, crap, I should have been recording that. She is incredible. She's the co founder of StoryTap Technologies, which is a video production company that has created and placed brand inspired videos that amass millions of views. And I was creeping the website and one of my favorite Canadian companies out of the EU on there, Canadian Tire, shout out to you. And I still think in my childhood bedroom, I have a whack of Canadian Tire dollars somewhere stashed there. She, this co founder has been in the industry for over 25 years. And if you're seeing her on YouTube, she looks flippin amazing. And she brings a focus of empathy to her company culture. And after creating a financial book club that grew to 500 members across six countries, how do you manage that? Oh my gosh, she created storytime technologies to be the first agency of its kind to make videos for brands, companies and social media that share perspectives and experiences from across the world. And we're going to hear about what StoryTap does, which is super cool. But before we do that, my guest today, who is a fellow Canadian, so you all know I'm biased about that anyway. We may even talk about Tim Hortons and The Tragically Hip like my last Canadian show. But my guest today is the amazing, the one and only Bernadette Butler. So Bernadette, thanks for being on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.

Bernadette Butler 01:47
I am proud to be here. Thanks for having me.

Susan Sly 01:50
First question I have for you. There's this debate, entrepreneurs are born, entrepreneurs are made. So when did you start your first business?

Bernadette Butler 02:01
Like, I have been hustling my entire life, like literally, first time I made any money literally is grade three, like I have been hustling my entire life. And I think in corporate world, I went safely into corporate as a marketer advertising executive. But I always had a side hustle, I was always on to something creating, thinking about it, testing, learning. But I'd say my first kind of foray into business was a company I did in my 20s, which I sold, which was really fun. I did it with a friend. And it didn't last very long, but we ended up selling it. So that was good. And then I got really passionate about women and finances. So that's when I started a financial Book Club, which was incredible learnings. And then here we are with StoryTap.

Susan Sly 02:54
So I'm gonna go back to you circa grade three, because a lot of founders have childhood businesses they start. So we've had people who've sold watermelon. We've had people who bought candy at the dollar store and resold it, we have all sorts of different stories. So what was that for side hustle? We have a lot of children who listen to the show, riding to school with their parents. That's why we have a PG rating. We don't swear on the show. And, but lots of kids listen, so and they, I want to inspire that younger generation of entrepreneurs. So what was your, What was your side hustle?

Bernadette Butler 03:29
Well, I was a little artist, and I would make greeting cards for my friends and sell them for 25 cents. So at a time where kids can't go to school, they're in grade three, they're not driving, and they're kind of out of that making Mother's Day, Father's Day birthday cards. I would ask them what birthdays are coming up, and then I would go home and I would draw and make it as beautiful as I could. And yeah, sell it to them for 25 cents. That was the first and then I got into, in high school I started selling my artwork and doing commission, commission art. Yeah, so that's kind of how I started.

Susan Sly 04:05
Nice. And that, it just goes to show like there's always a way to make extra money. And even though, a business I heard of, so one of my employees, her roommate has a 3d printer. And she started to make, I think it's like some kind of custom beads and so she's got this side hustle, 3d printing beads and then selling bracelets. And I said to my 13 year old who has a 3d printers, super techy kid and I'm like Emi, that could be your business, like bring it on, right? Mine was making Christmas ornaments and selling them at our family restaurant in Brockville, Ontario. So my dad and I were just talking about that, like the other day he gave me a startup loan for that business. But yeah, I was, I've been hustling I think since I was in the womb, so I totally get that. Let, there's, the other thing I'm read, I'm reading this book right now, on billionaire founders, and all the statistics around billionaire founders. And this, there's, obviously you and I were talking, we had a whole conversation and we should have recorded prior to actually going into it. But we, we had a discussion about, you know, women founders and having to hustle harder. As part of the stats, they're looking at degrees that founders have and what did you go to school for?

Bernadette Butler 05:33
Marketing.Yeah, so I, I honestly knew from early on hustling, that marketing was kind of my focus. So I did three years in marketing, and then did a certification in advertising. And I was just very, very laser focused about where I wanted to play and what did I want to do and it was all around TV commercials.

Susan Sly 05:53
And that landscape has changed so much. I mean, oh, my gosh,

Bernadette Butler 05:59
Huge. Yeah, agency they're, the tough world for a lot of agencies right now. Very, very tough.

Susan Sly 06:05
Well, let me ask you this. So there's a lot of obviously, you know, I'm in AI, but I come from Marketing, and then I went into Mar tech. How do you think AI is going to change the marketing space?

Bernadette Butler 06:18
It's a great question. I'm completely obsessed with it. So it starts with our platform. And I think all tech should be looking at this as, you know, they've open API, so you can easily dive into that tech and look to how it would easily benefit your platform, your concept, your business, which we've done and did it in a week. Like it wasn't tough, and it's incredible. But I do think that disruption, we're just starting to see it. It's replacing, obviously, blog content. I mean, a lot of, I think some writers are upset and you know, questioning the validity of what's been sped up. But the reality is, as a founder, as an owner of a company, you're like, wow, like, this is incredible stuff. Look how fast it can be produced. I think other things. And it really depends on their business model. But it really is impacting so many different layers in a business, that I think it's hard at this stage. I was just talking with a girlfriend last night, it's like we're watching, like, the world change. It was like, you know, we're watching, we're all blockbuster. We're starting to see Netflix show up, you know, from AI. And it's really, really exciting. I think there's a lot of businesses that are going to be hurt. It may not survive it. But I think we're moving to an exciting place.

Susan Sly 07:38
Agreed, and it's it's about adaptability, right. So one of the things, and you mentioned blog content, and I know like that it's interesting to take a look at if you like, I have GPT and then I'm using the V four version. So write a blog on, you know, whatever the metaverse and, you know, whatever you want to write a blog on, and it's going to produce it and you are still going to, in the current state, it's at have to validate those resources. But in terms of taking off the heavy lifting. So I'll give you another example. I've been, we'll talk about this in a minute. So you know exactly what this like. So I'm traveling a ton right now. And so the show is something, I used to be in media when I was in Canada. And it's just I love to get to sit down with fellow founders and just like hit the record button instead of eating lunch. Like let's just talk right. And so I missed a show because I was, I had to do a last minute trip. So I was like, my team was like, can you just do an episode where you talk freely about AI and entrepreneurship? And I'm like, Yeah, but I was really tired. So I went into GPT four. And I said, Give me podcast, give me, give me ways in which AI generative AI can benefit entrepreneurs. So it listed out, it gives a whole podcast content. And the episode of that show is called GPT helped me because it was, it was that

Bernadette Butler 09:10
I sat down with a friend and then I had an idea and I'm like, let's just ask ChatGPT for the business plan. Let's get a competitive analysis like boom, boom, you're in this. I don't even know about these competitors. And it's like, it's all, everything's becoming flat. Like everything's accessible for anybody with that technology. And I think yeah, I think it's really exciting. I mean, you can just run so much faster. Yes, you have to validate it for sure. But it gives you some structure and produces the nuts and bolts of it so to speak. Yes. validate it. Yes. Call this competitors. Yes. Make sure that pricing is up to date, but I mean, what, it took 16 seconds for both of those? I mean, it was incredible.

Susan Sly 09:52
I have a funny story and then other shows goes all around the world. So I'll just close like we're having a secret conversation but so we we're, you know, we're in, we're in fundraising mode, right? So I didn't, I didn't have, I didn't tell GPT like what the company was, or whatever. But I was like, Why should an investor invest in computer vision at the edge for retail? And so GPT does this whole long thing about these are the reasons why, and this is where it's going. And it was perfect, because I use some of those talking points when I have the conversation. And, and for some of those things, I think it's, I think it's absolutely huge. Let me ask you, you know, thinking about AI and thinking about StoryTap, how do you think AI is going to shift your business in the next five years?

Bernadette Butler 10:43
Yeah, I think it's really interesting. You know, what we're all about is, and I like to land this plane first is really, consumer behavior has changed, we are not reading online, we are watching. And if you want to buy it, fix it, make it build it, we're watching. And so our technology, our platform really helps brands get into the video first world and, you know, if we're not reading anymore, we're all going to YouTube and Tiktok or binge watching. We're binge watching on our couches, were binge watching on our phones, we love it. If you want to buy something, you're gonna watch three to five videos to make a decision. And so if consumer behavior is changing at that rate, then businesses need to change at that rate. So we get really pumped, we need these massive brands who are like, let's do it, let's have binge worthy, a binge worthy experience. You know, even if it's your FAQ page, let's get a go. And let's, you know, real people telling real stories across the board at scale and high volumes is going to do wonders. And so for AI, immediately for us, one of our solutions is all about honestly, your FAQ page and turning that into a powerhouse for SEO but also reducing call center volume. It's using real people, real staff, call it you know, for a lot of our bigger brands, their call center, their technicians doing video answers, which becomes not only incredibly helpful, which were all data driven, so the data is telling us that, but one area where some brands got stuck was, well, what are the video questions they need right now? And it's like, so that's where we implemented our AI is like in a nanosecond, a brand can be in the back end of a StoryTap and pull all the questions people are asking about right now about your brand, those videos get produced immediately. And you're winning on video SEO, like being discovered, because you know, Google's doubled down on video too. So they care a lot about video. So I think that is the first step for us. But it's so much more I can see in the future in terms of consumer behavior. And when I say that, I also, there's this, you're a marketer. So you know this shift of most brands often think about their brand is I have five ICPs I have five you know, customer profiles I market to, I target. But this new world, it is infinite, every person that comes to your site is looking for relevant, personalized information video to make a confident decision. So with that in mind, you know, what I'm gonna watch isn't what you're gonna watch. We're not even in the same location. You know, I am certainly not gonna watch a 20 year old guy talk about the lawn mower I'm gonna buy. I'm gonna want to see what, a four year old woman in Vancouver. Can she pull the thing? Does it start, like, all the things that go into making a purchase decision that are very specific to me. So I think AI is going to play a really interesting role for our company, potentially, in terms of consumer behavior, how fast that moves, and how quickly videos are served up to really make sure that A, that consumers are, you know, the right videos are being served up at the right time. And that level of sophistication around our algorithms. Right now. I'd say we're here and we're excited to be getting to this point.

Susan Sly 14:02
Yeah, that beautiful Bernadette and that to, to what you're speaking to this personalized experience because when we go online, it's a you know, as amazing and generous as we are as women but when we go online, it's still all about me. Like when I'm online, I want to see like something for a 50 year old woman who is working 12 to 16 hours a day, who has you know, children and still has children at home and like all the things in my life. Show me something for me. And because this is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, and you know, we've even talked about one of my founders, she was still breastfeeding, we talked about postpartum depression and we know all sorts of things. Like, you know, I want to, show me stuff about menopause. Like show me something. Have someone talk to me. And that's why I think some of the big brands are getting it so wrong. And I'm gonna, I'll use one example. So I love that Lululemon is all about body inclusion. However, as someone who used to be a women's size 16x, and now is like a size for six, I actually want to see women like my body type, and I think we're Aloe is getting it right is like you can choose your own adventure, right? People want to see something like them. And that's, you know, to that point. So going back in time, a lot of people have ideas about starting businesses, but very few actually execute on them. And so you, you have this massive financial book club. Okay. And then you say, Well, I want to start this company StoryTap. So how did you go from ideation to execution? And what was the initial sort of beginning idea? Because obviously, here you are, over eight years later, and the company's got massive logos, but how did you, how did you start it?

Bernadette Butler 16:04
Oh, this is a good gnarly question. You know, it's interesting with the book club, in that I started it. And for all you listeners out there, this is raw. My dad died. And I was making incredible money in marketing, and I had nothing to show for it. And I went, why exactly that? I manage 6 million a quarter. What's wrong with me personally? And so I had this vision of like, Oh, I just don't like to open my visa bills. I don't like to manage my money. Oh, oh, okay, I can fix that. And so I started on this journey of it's kind of a guilt trip, book club for women specifically. So we read 35 books. I mean, it's not operating now. But we read so many. And to me, it was so clear of where I needed to go, personally, both for fulfilment, but for the goals that I have financial goals I wanted to achieve. And then, in and around, when I lost my dad, I got really excited about personal video stories. And so that the inception of StoryTap was life stories. So capturing life stories from real people. And I'd still think we're a bit early with that. But you know, the beauty was, I actually got my dad's life story on video. And so when my kids watch his life story, they think we're Skyping, we're on FaceTime, but he's, he's been dead 10 years. So like, what a magical gift. Let's do that. But you know, all of that pain, and suffering and learning, like, crazy amounts of learning, took me to this place of, I'm a marketer. I, this is who I am. And so we started with live stories. It is the reason our Tech has won so many patents, it is the reason because we, I literally would sit in Starbucks, and I would approach you know, elderly folks walking in seniors anyway, can I buy you coffee? Can you point on my wireframes and show me? Like, I want them to walk through what they would do and how they would record video. So it was so easy. You know, that demographic doesn't want to learn tech, they don't want to know it's tech. So that is part of the reason it's so fabulous. But so my co founder stepped back when we were a year into life stories and went, Oh my gosh, like sorry. To me, the biggest pain I could possibly solve is I have been in marketing my entire life producing a fake message for a fake brand with fake people. You know, I take 27 weeks, 10 weeks, 27 weeks to produce a $300,000 ad that runs once, you know, like, and it's fake. It's all manufactured. And so I thought, like, imagine a world if we could flip this, we could take this technology, and we could help middle class, anybody who's buying online make a competent buying decision by seeing themselves, by seeing people like them who are opening it, like playing with it and any story they're in we work with businesses or brands that are helping to educate about kidney donation. So we're capturing stories about what it's like to donate a kidney, receive a kidney. I mean, that is incredible. Like their KPIs are how many people are interested in donated a kidney? Right? Like, it's incredible what a video story or you know, binging relevant video stories can do or a person who's interested to make, how to research and or to buy something.

Susan Sly 19:29
So you, what year did you start? Like what year was the book club going?

Bernadette Butler 19:38
Book Club is, book club, book club. Probably 2008, 2009.

Susan Sly 19:45
So I want to, I want to paint a picture friends, because we you know, time is relevant. Right now I have a lot of founders I'm interviewing, who started their businesses during the pandemic like my friend Dr. Eric Korem. Um, my friend Karthik, it like it. And so there's a very interesting thing that happened in the last recession. So there were companies that were founded during the recession and coming out of the recession that ended up being unicorns and very successful. And so, Bernadette, I kind of have this interesting hypothesis that for people who found companies during the toughest of times, they're raising money in the toughest of times. They're, you know, when the whole world is focused on joblessness, pandemics, we had a pandemic, and in '09, we had SARS. Right. And so I remember in Kingston where I was living at the time, you know, things were closing down. And you know, people were rightly so very nervous. And so my hypothesis is that this at some point, when I have the bandwidth to write the book on this and do a study on this, is to look at the founders who start businesses because of either a very significant traumatic life event or during a traumatic time, their resilience skill, because we look at Uber, Airbnb, all these companies that started during the pandemic, and the next wave, or during the recession, the next wave that started then. So you go for the book club, you're, you're telling life stories, there's a healing catharsis for you. And then you say, Okay, we're going to transition this into something else. So how did you get the capital to start storytime?

Bernadette Butler 21:29
So yeah, good question. And when you talked about breastfeeding, I actually breastfed at a VC meeting, not intentionally, I literally forgot to feed my kid. And then the screaming baby showed up. Not my, not my best moment, but I rocked it. So it was fine.

Susan Sly 21:43
Raw and real entrepreneurship. And I just want to say that this is the first time we, no, there, we I'd No, no, this is the first one out of VC meeting that we've had breastfeeding at the VC meeting.

Bernadette Butler 21:55
I you know, for moms, I was, I was in my skinny jeans for the first time. It was, it was a, you know, about you put on a little thing to cover yourself, and you just keep on going. You're, so capital, yes. So for, for me, my story started with, you know, a four month old and a two year old. And I'm ready, like, look, I'm doing this thing and my husband's like, ah, like the babies and like, we're just gonna figure this out. And so I'm so ready. And I'm starting to make coffee appointments, as you do with potential of a time staff, employees. I have no concept of a co founder at that stage. It was just me, an Excel sheet, and some wireframes when I'm doing this. And I ended up meeting a gentleman at the time, I thought, I need a CFO who literally had no concept of what it was like to do startup. But that was where my headspace was at the time. Anyways, he was my first chat. He said, like, I love this so much. I want to be your first angel. Here's a couple of 100,000. And it actually ended up being 100,000. And the end, he kind of backed out a little bit. But then all of a sudden, when you get your first check, you're like, oh, this is a business like I got it. Like terms have to be established. I've got to find a lawyer. And all these things had to happen immediately. And I'm learning what a safe is, and what are the complexities of this and you know, got a cap table now. And so I was kind of a way to the races. And then I started to interview developers. And I wasn't looking for a co founder, but ended up meeting line who I hired and genius, Shawn Brax, who's my co founder, we met. And I hired him to do CX. So just customer experience of this product that we were on well underway building. And then he kind of said, you know, I'm a full stack developer. I'm like, Oh, are you sure? He's like, Yeah, pretty sure. I'm like, oh, but I had him talk to my developer. My developer was like, no, he's he's really good. Like, he's, he's like, really good. I was like, Oh, I'm like, trying to book a co founder. He's like, Yes, I'm like done. And we honestly were beautifully together. It's one incredible, whatever, eight years later, and we've never even had an argument, like, kind of awesome. But yeah, that's how I started and we bootstrapped. So we bootstrapped for a long time, I would say I have heartedly tried to raise capital, but really bought into this, like, it's really hard for women and I have little kids, and I'm like, let's just sales. Sales solves all. You can sell. And I didn't know how to sell on the market. I had no idea. So I had to figure that out, too. But like, then you do. And, you know, and then for us, we didn't even contemplate taking venture until the pandemic when we started to see some hyper growth and we were like, Okay, now it's time.

Susan Sly 24:43
So that is a very interesting time in the growth of the company. Because it's this critical mass where the, just you explain to the people who are not quite at that point with their business yet. So there's like a lot of interest and a lot of customer activity, the sales pipeline is really robust. And you're looking at it going, Okay, I have enough wisdom now to know for me to fulfill on all of this, I need capital, I need more talent I need, you know, whatever it is that you need to be able to do it. And so that round for you, because you had bootstrapped was kind of like a not quite in A round, but kind of a, you know, what, what did you call it?

Bernadette Butler 25:27
It was weird. It's like, I call it the seed and for, I will tell you, the headspace we were at. We had that stage had a lifestyle business. We had a small team, we're paying everybody, we're growing. But then when I really got quiet with my ambition, and I would say, partially, Shawn, but I'd say mostly mine, I was like, I'm gonna land on the moon. Like, I'm not doing this for lifestyle, I'm doing this to do it, I let's do it. And so that's when we decided capital. But then if you're bootstrapped, which, you know, it's a double edged sword, because in early days, you're hungry, like you need to put food, I need to cover daycare, like I have got to figure out how to sell because my daycare cost me two grand a month, and I needed to sell. So for us, when we thought about venture, it was critical that is about fit. And so for me, it was just honestly, I'd get on calls, I'm like, nope, like not interested, if you're asking me questions about how I balance my motherhood and the tech and like, whatever next, or they get on calls, and they're only talking to my co founder. And he's like, it's she's the CEO. That's her. I'm like, next. And so we really, I feel very lucky about with two Co leads with our venture round, and they are both two people that I would, you know, go for dinner with in a heartbeat I would have over on Christmas Eve, you know like, they're just incredible humans, that really get what we're up to.

Susan Sly 27:03
So I'm going to rapid fire some questions, will be fun. So for the seed round, how did you determine your valuation?

Bernadette Butler 27:10
That's a good question. Um, you know, I kind of kicked myself a little bit because we, we went too low, we were very Canadian, I think we got a little too low. And because you know, you're low when your lead investor check actually values you hire. So the term sheet came in higher, and what we did about it ourselves out? So I mean, that was a good signal. But yeah, value, which is always tricky. But I think, you know, there's some math equations in there, when you are actually producing revenue, I think, you know, we're seeing a bit of a pinch now with with tech companies that haven't made any money, and yet their valuation was through the roof, and they're all in down rounds, they can't, they can't make up that delta and, and they're in a bit of a pickle, we were in the different situation, I guess, hindsight, you know, we're fortunate.

Susan Sly 28:02
So you're kind of like, what I'm hearing Bernadette is you're kinda like creating your valuation based on like, the typical stuff like EBIT and stuff like that. And then looking at the market valuation, for people who don't know who are outside of this space, sometimes they just pull it out of thin air. And it's kind of like, what the free market will bear at the time. So if you're going to say, friends and family, you'd be like, Yeah, my company is worth $50 million, and you don't have a dime of revenue. But if people invest in that, then that's what they've decided the value of the company is, right. So and, you know, coming from marketing, as you know, from the, a story has a tremendous amount of value. And then we talk about valuation, like real value, perceived value. And you know, when, when I get asked what the valuation of our company is, in these conversations, I turn it around. And I'll give an example of a peer company and what they did their last raise at with X number of customers and revenue, and I, whoever gives the first number tends to lose, right. So. So that's why I never give it but I was just curious about that. So how many investors did you pitch to?

Bernadette Butler 29:23
You know, probably, I don't know, I want to say 20, wasn't a lot like, 15 20?

Susan Sly 29:31
15 to 20. And did any of them I guess, since it's raw and real entrepreneurship. Did any of them like you kind of thought Yeah, I think they're going to and then they, at the end said no, or

Bernadette Butler 29:45
Well, I'd say, you know, since the seed round we've done you know, seed plus round, definitely more in that camp that I thought oh, yeah, this is it and then and then it's not it. I'm like, Are you kidding me? Like, this is it and they're like No, no Not that. I'm like, I take it really personally, I have a really hard time with it, and how you handle it when people say no, I don't like it. And the other experience I had is we, we actually went through TechStars. So TechStars is that you don't really know. But if your listeners don't, it's an accelerator, and then you have Demo Day. And Demo Day is a pretty big thing. So that was probably my first experience. We weren't raising at the time of Demo Day, but it was good to go through that, and we were Bootstraping, it was good to go through. And to have investors, even though I wasn't raising kind of actually, you know, be interested, but like, oh, we're gonna pass on like, I'm actually rasing. So you pass all you want. But I think, again, it comes down to fit, if you can, you know, fit and strategics like. I think that the A round, and you've got to just go for strategics. And it's got to be, you know, for us Canadians, it's American strategics. How you're going to, because then you've got to get to whatever your goals are the B or your exit, whatever. But yeah, we're not there yet. And I'll be focusing on the A in a bit.

Susan Sly 31:08
Yeah. And I love that you shared that because the, I love that you talked about taking it personally. Right. And before we got into the show, we were talking about women led pitches and men, male led pitches, and the statistic is low. It's still single digits for women led pitches, especially in Silicon Valley. And it's the founder of Canva. She was rejected by 200 VCs, right? And my friend Karthik, who was on the show, he was, he was rejected by, it's not just a woman thing. He was rejected in his last company by 75. And then they finally got that first term sheet. And I said, like, how did you keep it together? Like, while you're waiting. Let me ask you that, like, how did you manage your emotional state and physical state while you were waiting for the first term sheet to come in? And did they tell you that we're sending a term sheet? Or did you just open your email? It was like, oh, there it is.

Bernadette Butler 32:07
No, we, again, because we were bootstrapped, we were in a really good comfortable cash position. So I did actually, I felt like I had a lot more. And this is Jerry Seinfeld or George, whoever said it, but like, I felt like I had more control over the situation. And it really was a negotiation. And so they said, they're going to send a term sheet and I had never done a venture round before. I really didn't know the word actually, do you want to, I'll show you this, because this is raw, it will see video, actually just had this out the other day, I'm a printed nerd, but this was my seed round. This is the paperwork required for anybody who's never done venture, but that's it. So it's shocking to me the amount of work that goes into a venture round of funding, much different than my first, you know, safe term sheet that was much different. That was a piece paper, but it's a lot of work on it is free detail, right? Like, as you know, everything is negotiable. And there's so many interests, you know, what is the word intricacies throughout it, that you have to be on your game? And it's going to impact how you're modeling things out? So yeah, and I think it's really emotional for me, because it's, you know, as you said, I'm working around the clock. I've got children, like, I, I care so much about the success of this business and all of the people that are working for us, you know, of course, we want to take it personal and almost like a little mad, like you're saying, no, yeah.

Susan Sly 33:42
It's like, the saying is someone's telling you your baby's ugly, right. And, and for the listener, so Bernadette held up a binder, and it's almost like three inches deck. Yeah, no, no worries, like, and so like, your populating a data room, and then they're coming back and going, well, this isn't in the data room, you're like, well, it is in a data room. And, and it's, I've actually found that women on the VC side are tougher on women than the men have been.

Bernadette Butler 34:16
I didn't have you know, so are the first person that wrote us a term sheet only invest in females. And at her version is probably different than mine. But I felt like we talked about our dogs, and then a little bit about the business. And then she was like, Yeah, this feels right. Like, that's it. It is so easy. Like, I don't know, maybe fate has a, has a role to play in it too. But my, one of my VCs is female and she's lovely. She's tough, I mean, you know, she's an investor. She cares about very specific things like, she's tough, but she's incredible as a human.

Susan Sly 34:57
Yeah. And as you said, It really comes down to you right fit, because depending on the size of your round, depending on the percentage that VC is taking, they're either going to take a board position, or they're going to be a board observer, or there's so many nuances of things. And they're decided to shift around your executive team. I mean, the list goes on and on and on. And it's, and also the transparency right, like since raw and real and you're like, suddenly you're opening, there's a term like it, but it's the term that's used, opening the kimono. So you're opening the kimono, essentially, and showing like everything, every dollar you've spent, every decision you've made, and they have checklists, and they, you either you know, meet the checklist or you don't. Yeah, and I know like, oh my gosh, there's so many things I want to ask you, but I'm gonna, I you know, I hope everyone listening, please go leave us a five star review and share this episode. I read all the reviews. So if you're on iTunes, I read your reviews I shouldn't say like on Spotify, and iHeartRadio, and everywhere that people listen to the show. I'll read all those reviews, my team sends them to me, but if you want to, you know, connect, go to and share what you loved about the show. And if you are a hater, just don't bother because go you can go on Tiktok and go ruin someone else's life. That's called Ron real entrepreneurship. And my first job out of university in Canada was men's maximum security prison guard at Kings. Oh, yes, that's, yeah, I don't, I don't take nonsense. So with my Canadian founders, we have a little bit of Canadian fun. And so to bring Canadiana to the world. So here we go. This is rapid fire. Changing questions. Number one, favorite Canadian musical artist or band?

Bernadette Butler 36:55
Bryan Adams, Sarah McLaughlin. I mean, I love those. Avril Lavigne's one, you know, debut song probably. But

Susan Sly 37:06
yeah. Sarah. I was at some parties with Sarah. I used to work with her biological mom, Judy in Halifax. Yes.

Bernadette Butler 37:14
How incredible is that?

Susan Sly 37:15
And Sarah would come into the store. We worked at this little store called Imports Unlimited and Halifax. And she come in and she'd started singing acapella. And I used to. Yeah, so whatever. I used to go under age to the bars in Halifax and Sarah one night, I was in this bar called the pub Flamingo and Sarah was singing acapella on a Monday night. Amazing voice. Okay, so next question. National Post or Globe and Mail?

Bernadette Butler 37:44
Globe and Mail.

Susan Sly 37:46
Next question. I know, just that I've no sentiment either way. Canadian food. Because we have a few that are like very, you know, specific Canadian foods. What would yours be?

Bernadette Butler 38:02
Ketchup chips.

Susan Sly 38:04
Right. Delicious. Oh my gosh. Yes. Even in Scottsdale, there's a Canadian section at one of the grocery stores and they sell ketchup chips.

Bernadette Butler 38:13

Susan Sly 38:14

Bernadette Butler 38:15
I'm hard to resist those.

Susan Sly 38:17
Yeah, I had, the last time I was in Montreal. I had poutine in old, you know, Old Montreal. And I have to say like, no one does poutine like, you know,

Bernadette Butler 38:30
Yeah, they've mastered it.

Susan Sly 38:32
Did you know there are Tim Hortons in Texas now?

Bernadette Butler 38:35
I did. I did know that. They're everywhere. Yeah. And I I love my Timbits. My co founder does not. He makes, every time we travel together I have to walk miles to get his very specific coffee and I'm clearly bitter about it, but just give me a chance. I'm happy.

Susan Sly 38:54
You have a Timbit flavor that you like.

Bernadette Butler 38:57
Double Chocolate.

Susan Sly 38:59
Delicious. Absolutely. Well, Bernadette, that is Canadian trivia. Oh, no. Canadian actor or actress.

Bernadette Butler 39:08
Ah, now you're in my world. Okay, Jim Carrey. I like Ryan Reynolds. Right. The Ryan Gosling, like probably those are the top three Well, Mike Myers as well. Who else?

Susan Sly 39:24
Rachel McAdams. Oh my gosh, we just watched Eurovision again. My youngest daughter loves Eurovision, right? Oh my gosh. Yeah. Okay.

Bernadette Butler 39:33
Yeah, she's incredible. I'm still sad that she broke up with Ryan Gosling like they relate to each other in the notebook. How did this even happen?

Susan Sly 39:40
No offense, Eva Mendes. But still rooting. still rooting.

Bernadette Butler 39:46
I love that movie.

Susan Sly 39:49
I know. Okay, listeners you're like Okay, enough with like, if you want to learn about Raw and Real Entrepreneurship and Canada, this is the only show that is going to cover both those bases. So anyway, Hey, Bernadette, thank you so much for being here everyone, check out StoryTap. If you you know, share it, share it with the brands you love. I love what you're doing in the world. You're another like, incredible badass female founder and plus, again, amazing mom, Canadian. And definitely next time I see you, I have to go to Vancouver for business. So cocktails or whatever. But not both at the same time. Timbits and cocktails do not go together in my opinion. No,

Bernadette Butler 40:31
Probably not. But I'm open to it. Like it was really being honest. Like I'm open, you know, dirty martini and double chocolate like something I would consider. I'm not gonna lie.

Susan Sly 40:41
Yeah, that combination. Uh, huh. Yep. Yep. Okay. All right. That could be, that's maybe we'll do a show live while drinking martinis and eating Timbits and we'll get Tim Hortons to sponsor it.

Bernadette Butler 40:57
I love it. Count me in.

Susan Sly 40:59
All right, we could get, if we had gin martinis.

Bernadette Butler 41:02
Ryan Reynolds, he could do the gin martinis of aviation gin.

Susan Sly 41:05
Yes. Okay. That's it. It's done. All right. Anyway, Bernadette, thank you so much for being here. And for everyone listening around the world. Just remember that you always do Control Your Destiny and starting a business is one of the ways that you can truly reclaim your power. So with that, God bless. Go rock your day. And I will see you in the next episode of Raw and Real entrepreneurship.

Susan Sly 41:32
Hey, this is Susan and thanks so much for listening to this episode on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. If this episode or any episode has been helpful to you, you've gotten at least one solid tip from myself or my guests, I would love it if you would leave five star review wherever you listen to podcast. After you leave your review go ahead and email Let us know where you left the review. And if I read your review on the art, you could get a $50 amazon gift card and we would so appreciate it because reviews do help boost the show and get this message all over the world. If you're interested in any of the resources we discussed on the show, go to That's where all the show notes live. And with that, go out there rock your day, God bless. And I will see you in the next episode.

Susan Sly 42:23
Are you currently an employee looking to start your own business? Maybe you've been thinking about it for a while and you're just not sure where to start? Well, my course Employee to Entrepreneur combines my decades of experience as an entrepreneur with proven methods, techniques and skills to help you take that leap and start your own business. This course is self paced, Learn on Demand and comes with an incredible workbook. And that will allow you to go through this content piece by piece by piece, absorb it, take action and then go on to the next module. So check out my course on Employee to Entrepreneur.

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Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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