In our latest episode of “Bright Founders Talk,” we had the pleasure of sitting down with Joseph Lee, the Co-founder and CEO of Supademo. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Joseph is no stranger to the entrepreneurial world, having dabbled in various ventures including North America’s first demand-driven marketplace for seafood.
Today, his focus is on Supademo, an innovative solution that leverates AI to create interactive product demos and guides in a matter of seconds. But it’s not just his current endeavor that makes Joseph an intriguing guest. From striking a balance between work and well-being with early morning 10k runs to learning the hard way about the pitfalls of overwork, Joseph brings a wealth of experience and life lessons to the table.
His partnership with his Co-founder Koushik, the methodical approach to finding the right business partners, and the insights gained from diverse business backgrounds all come together in a story that’s both inspiring and instructive. So buckle up as we dive deep into the world of Joseph Lee, exploring the journey, challenges, and invaluable lessons that have shaped his career.
From Seafood to Software: Joseph Lee on Finding Balance and the Birth of Supademo
Joseph Lee, the Co-founder and CEO of Supademo, isn’t your average tech startup founder. Hailing from Vancouver, this early riser starts his day at 8 a.m., but today was special. He squeezed in a 10K run by the ocean before joining our podcast. Why? “Maintaining balance and mental sanity,” he shares. Gone are his days of grinding 14-hour shifts; Joseph is all about “taking that step away” from the business to focus on his personal health. His key takeaway: “When I first started, I bought into the facade of having to work nonstop. That led me down a dark spiral physically and emotionally.”
Joseph didn’t start out in tech. Believe it or not, he was once the brains behind North America’s first demand-driven marketplace for seafood. Joseph knows a thing or two about hustling—he transported over 100,000 pounds of seafood himself, from docks to high-end restaurants. The seafood venture eventually pivoted due to COVID, leading him to the B2B software realm. “I noticed that when I could get someone on a one-on-one screenshare and show them step by step how our product worked, that’s when they got that light bulb moment,” Joseph recalls.
A critical piece of the puzzle was meeting his Co-founder, Koushik, who had a similar itch to solve the problem of effective product demonstrations. Joseph suggests a methodical approach to finding the right co-founder, recommending a “step-by-step playbook” to assess compatibility in character, personality, and skillset. His golden advice: “Turn co-founder matching into a process.” Together, they combined their insights and needs to create Super Demo, a platform that employs AI to help anyone create “beautiful interactive product demos in seconds.”
Chiseling the Imperfect: Joseph’s Guide to Thriving in the Entrepreneurial Jungle
Joseph leans in, his eyes lighting up as he talks about the essence of entrepreneurship. “You’re navigating an ocean of uncertainty, but that’s the game, right? It’s all about taking imperfect information and chipping away at it. Whether it’s healthcare or fishing, it’s the same core idea: you build a vision for the future, you assemble a killer team, and then you forge ahead. Bit by bit, piece by piece.”
“One of the biggest assets in my journey has been my network,” Joseph insists, punctuating each word with a note of emphasis. “Your network really does accelerate your growth and ambitions,” he says. Whether it’s been the mentors who’ve coached him through the brink of shutting down or the friends who’ve cheered him on, Joseph believes that having a supportive community is invaluable. “During both good times and really hard times, these are the people who can make or break your ability to find success.”
Joseph also touches on the ever-present stress that entrepreneurs face. How does he cope? “It’s an ongoing challenge,” he admits, “but physical activity helps me tune out and stay level-headed.” He offers a mantra that he says keeps things in perspective: “You really have to change your mindset and channel that stress to be a positive motivator. At the end of the day, just remind yourself, ‘What’s the worst-case scenario? You’ve got a cool story to tell.'” This gem leaves a lasting impression, capturing Joseph’s indomitable spirit: “At the end of the day, you’ve got a cool story to tell.”
The Art of Juggling Priorities: Joseph’s Take on the Entrepreneur’s Balancing Act
“It’s not about doing a million things, it’s about doing a handful of things really well,” Joseph declares, mirroring the focus he says is essential to the entrepreneurial journey. The tricky part? Knowing which handful of things to tackle when you’re tempted to wear every hat in the startup closet. “When you’re first starting, you’re the jack-of-all-trades. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but you’ve got to hone in on the top three to five things that are holding your business back and go all-in on those.”
“But can you really make it if you’re not a multitasking maven?” Joseph grins at the question. “You don’t have to be a specialist in the founder role. You have to be malleable, adaptable,” he emphasizes. “Entrepreneurship isn’t just about the destination; it’s about how you navigate the winding roads, the detours, and the speed bumps along the way.” In Joseph’s eyes, a good entrepreneur is a chameleon, ready to change colors and adapt to whatever the business demands.
The conversation then shifts to growth, and Joseph’s own rocket ride from zero to 4,000 users in just eight months. The rapid ascent hasn’t come without its share of challenges—like meeting the “full-fledged expectations” of enterprise customers paying thousands of dollars. “They expect performance, a constantly evolving product, and a seamless user experience. It’s a big leap going from a 100-user product to scaling into the thousands,” he notes. But the team hasn’t ballooned alongside the user base. “It’s just me and my co-founder. We’re not in a rush to scale headcount for the sake of it. We’re waiting to find the right team members.”
In a world where multitasking has become the entrepreneur’s supposed sixth sense, Joseph’s perspective serves as a refreshing counterpoint: “You have to be malleable, adaptable.” The journey is just as crucial as the destination, and sometimes, less really is more.
From Zero to 4,000 Users: Joseph Spills the Secret Sauce on Scaling, Trusting Your Gut, and the Magic of AI in Supademo
Joseph gets it. The startup world isn’t for the faint of heart. “The biggest thing is trusting your gut, and having a bias for action,” he says, with a kind of practical wisdom you’d expect from someone who’s been in the trenches. This “bias for action” is probably why his platform Supademo has gone from zero to 4,000 users in the blink of an eye. But hey, before you roll your eyes at another overnight success story, Joseph is all about the slow, deliberate grind too—especially when it comes to hiring. They’re growing, sure, but not just to bloat numbers. Each team member has to be the “right fit,” which Joseph insists is crucial.
AI, that buzzy, mysterious tech, has also caught Joseph’s imagination. Unlike many entrepreneurs who are throwing AI onto everything like it’s startup ketchup, Joseph is calculated. His vision for integrating AI into Supademo is fascinatingly specific. Think: tailor-made, AI-generated annotations that guide you through a product demo, saving you oodles of time. Also in the pipeline? AI audio to make your demos sound professional without the fuss of endless retakes. So if you’re wondering whether AI is just a passing fad for startups, Joseph makes it clear: “AI has the opportunity to amplify everything we do within the product demo space.”
You might think someone who’s scaled so rapidly would be all about the hustle, no breaks. But Joseph strikes that rare balance between moving fast and thoughtfulness. He’s learned the hard way that you have to make tough calls—like pivoting or even letting someone go—quickly, even if it’s uncomfortable. For him, that’s the difference between staying stuck and skyrocketing to success. Joseph’s parting shot sums it up: “Making that tough call and being quick to take action is really, really important.” Here’s to more of us catching that infectious bias for action.