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June 7, 2020

#122: Nicholas Hinrichsen and Chris Coleman, Founders of WithClutch and Carlypso, on Their Multi-Business Journey Together

#122: Nicholas Hinrichsen and Chris Coleman, Founders of WithClutch and Carlypso, on Their Multi-Business Journey Together

and  are the founders of . The two met at Stanford Business School in 2011 and started their first company, Carlypso, in 2013. After going through YCombinator and raising $10M in venture funding, Chris and Nicholas sold Carlypso...


Chris and Nicholas are the founders of www.WithClutch.com. The two met at Stanford Business School in 2011 and started their first company, Carlypso, in 2013. After going through YCombinator and raising $10M in venture funding, Chris and Nicholas sold Carlypso to Carvana in 2017. Their new business, WithClutch, allows car owners to calculate savings and refinance their loans from the comfort of their home.

Chris is a huge car enthusiast. He went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for undergrad, joined McKinsey & Company out of college and worked at McLaren in the UK before graduating from Stanford.

Nicholas used to be an avid golfer, playing on Germany's national team for four years. After finishing his master's degree in Germany, he worked at Bain & Company and Merrill Lynch before he moved to the U.S. in 2011.

Connect with Nicholas Hinrichsen and Chris Coleman

Some of the Topics Covered by Nicholas and Chris in this Episode

  • What is WithClutch?
  • How they got the idea for WithClutch while running their first business, Carlypso
  • How Chris' dream of working for a Formula 1 team eventually led him to the Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • How Nick went from playing on the German golf national team to working in renewable energy to Stanford for business school, where he met Chris
  • How Carlypso was born when Chris and Nick began helping their classmates sell their cars at Stanford
  • What factors nudged Chris into entrepreneurism
  • Why Nick decided to become an entrepreneur in the U.S. instead of Germany
  • Getting their first $50K and deciding to start Carlypso
  • The customer discovery process and finding value as they began their business
  • The founder relationship between Chris and Nick and how they knew they could build a business together
  • Beginning to find investors, and how they quickly went from a goal of $250K to $1M
  • Expectation versus reality regarding the management of their initial funds
  • The problems they ran into as they looked to scale Carlypso as a peer to peer model
  • Joining the Y Combinator accelerator program and how they addressed the issue of not growing fast enough
  • How changing their model led to a growth in inventory from 100 cars to 30,000 overnight
  • How immense growth affected the business operationally
  • The strengths and weaknesses of Carlypso's marketing strategy
  • The challenge of explaining the Carlypso model to consumers
  • The two methods they used to build out the Carlypso team as they continued to grow
  • The biggest obstacles Nick and Chris faced, mistakes made, and the importance of trusting your intuition
  • What led to the Carvana acquisition, and how they managed the transition
  • The recent launch of their newest venture, WithClutch
  • The most important lessons each Nick and Chris have learned as entrepreneurs

Links from the Episode