WHOA GNV Podcast

Has come to impact lives in ways Austin never dreamed of—you never know who your story may touch




WHOA GNV is a podcast hosted by Collin Austin and Michael Dees that celebrates Gainesville by bringing you “businesses and individuals that make you go ‘WHOA!’” With an episode every week since early 2018, WHOA GNV is on a mission to connect everyone in Gainesville’s vibrant  up-and-coming entrepreneurial  community.

Collin Austin is always telling people, don’t be afraid to tell your story, to share your content, because you don’t know who you’re impacting. WHOA GNV has come to impact lives in ways Austin never dreamed of—you never know who your story may touch.

When Collin Austin started his first business (NS4L) at the age of twentyone, in 2004, he and his business partner had to figure everything out on their own. As far as they could tell, there was no help in Gainesville for a couple of young entrepreneurs. Austin even thought about moving his company somewhere else—building it in Gainesville just seemed too hard.

Flash forward sixteen years, and all that is changing. Gainesville is becoming an entrepreneurial hub, and Austin successfully runs two businesses (and the podcast).

However, Austin knows that it’s still not always easy for entrepreneurs in Gainesville, and, as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, he experienced meetings with many of the city’s large institutions coming together to create a unified vision for the city. “I’m honored that I get to play a role in those discussions as a board member for the chamber,” Austin said.

As a business owner, it was hard to sit there and wait for things to unfold. So Austin thought, “what can I do now? What can I do to get this community one step closer to a unified vision, to keeping our talent, to creating a larger impact?”

So, in 2018, Austin created WHOA GNV.

“I try to see where help is needed and then execute,” says Austin. “There was an opportunity to highlight what makes Gainesville so great, its people, and I had the ability to do it, and so I did it.”

Austin explains that the podcast has three core missions. The first is to help Gainesville as a community keep more of the Top 7 talent that graduate from the University of Florida.

The second is to recruit experienced talent and investor capital to Gainesville. “So many startups go to bigger cities after they’ve hit a certain point, because they have to follow the money. So we’re trying to attract investor capital, and the experienced talent that comes with it.”

The third mission of the podcast is to connect the Gainesville business community. “I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve got on LinkedIn where someone says ‘I had no idea that business even existed in Gainesville!’ And that’s really satisfying.”

It’s a video podcast, so you can also watch it on Facebook or YouTube, or you can listen to it on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify—anywhere you listen to podcasts.

“We’ve done 95 episodes, 95 weeks in a row,” says Austin.

As an entrepreneur himself, Austin lets his own interest guide his questions, which leads to a wide range of topics, and because of the transparency of the guests, the conversations seem to resonate with other entrepreneurs.

For example, WHOA GNV had a local Instagram influencer on, Kristin Coffey Pressley, and at one point Austin realized he really wanted to know how much money she was making. And he just asked (she said between $80k-$100k that year). People were surprised he would ask that, but, says Austin, “me asking about what I’m actually interested in is what makes the show interesting.”

The most memorable WHOA GNV response, though, involved two different episodes. The first was the Kristin Kozelsky episode. Kozelsky is a business owner and talked about struggling with depression. Austin was supportive of her sharing her story: “People need to know they’re not alone as entrepreneurs. You feel like you don’t have support.”

Three months later, a guy named Drew Stuerman was on the show, the owner of Halo Potato Donuts. At the end of his episode, he said he’d watched the Kozelsky episode and got help because of it.

“Hearing something like that,” says Austin, “you can’t put a dollar value on it.”

Austin is proud that WHOA GNV has already impacted Gainesville business owners, but he sees it impacting the community as a whole. “That’s what drives me,” he says.

For more information on WHOA GNV, visit whoagnv.com.

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