About The Room Podcast

The Room Podcast is a leading technology podcast that shares inspiring founding stories from the tech leaders of today to catalyze the founders of tomorrow. Co-hosted by Claudia Laurie (a founder) and Madison McIlwain (a funder), The Room gives listeners an inside look into the early days of your favorite companies and answers your tactical questions about what it takes to build an iconic business.

The Room in Numbers





+ $50B

of Guest Enterprise Value


of Guests Identify as Female or BIPOC

Meet The Hosts

Claudia and Madison met in San Francisco in 2018 as they started their tech careers as product managers and bonded over a mutual passion for community and product building. Two years later, The Room Podcast was founded when they both started navigating career pivots: Claudia in leaving big tech to start a startup , and Madison in joining an early-stage venture capital fund as an investor. As they asked founders and funders for advice, Claudia and Madison realized that the conversations they were having should be available to everyone.

Since the start of the podcast, Madison became the partner for defy vc's seed stage practice and  as responsible for driving the seed investment strategy for the firm. She worked closely with founders across b2b and consumer technology.  Madison is currently a student at Harvard Business School.

Claudia has gone on to co-found Prive, a commerce payments and infrastructure startup. They’ve raised over $4.75 million from top-tier VCs including an investment from defy vc led by Madison.

Claudia and Madison bring the unique perspective of founder and funder to their conversations with the world's most inspiring entrepreneurs.

The Room Team

Madison McIlwain
Co-founder & Co-Host

Currently at Harvard Business School. Previously Partner of Seed Investments at defy vc.

Forbes 30 under 30 Media 2024
Dartmouth Class of 2018

Claudia Laurie
Co-founder & Co-Host

Co-founder & Co-CEO of Prive.

Forbes 30 under 30 Media 2024
Harvard Class of 2018

Grace Beilstein
Marketing Associate

2025 Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs’ Natural Resources group

Class of 2026 at Dartmouth College studying Economics & International Relations.

Meet our Partners

The Room Podcast is proudly partnered with Silicon Valley Bank.

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a division of First Citizens Bank, is the bank of the world’s most innovative companies and investors. SVB provides commercial and private banking to individuals and companies in the technology, life science and healthcare, private equity, venture capital and premium wine industries. SVB operates in centers of innovation throughout the United States, serving the unique needs of its dynamic clients with deep sector expertise, insights and connections. Learn more at svb.com.

Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high-value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients’ success. With more than 1,200 lawyers in offices across the United States and Asia, we provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.
Learn more at perkinscoie.com.