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Episode #1 Featuring John Smith, Founder & CEO, Company Inc.
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045: The $100M Phone Case Startup That’s Unf*cking The Planet with Matthew Bertulli
Matthew Bertulli
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Matthew Bertulli is the CEO of Pela—a green tech company founded by Jeremy Lang that creates consumer products from environmentally sustainable materials.

The company was ranked #9 on the list of fastest-growing companies in Canada and earned a valuation of $100M in 2020.

Matthew and Jeremy carved out a new market category when they launched Pela Case, the world’s first 100% compostable, eco-friendly phone case; now a multiple 8-figure brand. They continued to expand their product line and more recently launched Lomi, their electric kitchen composter that turns food waste into dirt. 

According to their website, Pela’s customers have prevented the equivalent of 48,433,866 plastic bags from entering our oceans. 

In this episode, I talk with Matthew about his experience starting and scaling companies. Interestingly, his first business was steadily bootstrapped over 10 years, eventually selling to a PE firm for 8-figures. On the flip side, Pela is VC funded and rapidly growing. 

You’ll get to hear his strategies for building a brand people want to talk about, why the investors on your cap table matter, and how he applies a bootstrapped mindset to running a VC-backed company. 


The holy grail of marketing is word of mouth. The problem with it is that it's very hard to measure.” - Matthew Bertulli

Raising venture capital for us wasn't permission to go spend it; it was, what do we need to develop the product and to build a roadmap that we think will take this company to something very significant for the world.” - Matthew Bertulli

Too many entrepreneurs chase venture capital too quickly, and I think it's the wrong move.” - Matthew Bertulli

Key Takeaways with Matthew Bertulli

✔️Bootstrapping and scaling his first company (Demac Media) and the private equity acquisition deal that resulted in an 8-figure exit.

✔️How Matthew helped develop an entirely new market category by commercializing the world’s first compostable phone case. Pela Case is now a multiple 8-figure business.

✔️Launching Lomi—a home appliance by Pela that magically turns food waste into dirt.

✔️Deliberately crafting a marketing message so that other people will repeat it.

✔️The factors that influenced Matthew and his partner to transition from a bootstrapped company to venture-backed.

✔️The Employee Stock Ownership Plan Matthew’s company uses to incentivize employees.

✔️How becoming financially independent impacts how Matthew makes business decisions as an entrepreneur.

✔️Why Matthew believes that the experience gained through bootstrapping makes you a better entrepreneur.

✔️Does the credibility of your VC investors impact how much you can raise?

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