Episode 91 | How Rafe Furst Bounced Back from Full Tilt Poker’s Public Implosion,

with Crowdfunder co-founder Rafe Furst

David Hassell interview David Hassell interview
AWE Episode graphic Rafe Furst

Rafe Furst has a reputation for being ahead of the curve, a knack for identifying new technologies and consumer trends well before they become mainstream.

He also has the track record to back it up.  

Since beginning his career in Silicon Valley in the 90s, Rafe has founded, invested in and advised dozens of startups, including Pickem Sports, Full Tilt Poker, and Crowdfunder. To date, his companies have generated over $1 billion in revenue and $450 Million in liquidity to stakeholders.

He also has the distinction of being the only Awesome Office guest to win a bracelet at the World Series of Poker.

But Rafe’s success hasn’t come without challenges, and his entrepreneurial path has taken him to a few dark places.

Case in point – Full Tilt Poker, the gaming site that Rafe calls both his greatest success and biggest failure. In April 2011, Full Tilt came to a dramatic and public end, as the federal government seized the company’s domains, brought criminal charges against senior executives, and ran it and 11 other online gaming companies out of the country.

The ordeal was a source of debilitating stress for Rafe. At the end of that year, he (in his words) “crashed,” and his emotional and coping systems shut down to the point that he was briefly hospitalized. He spent the next month recovering in the care of his family.

Of course, this ending was really just the beginning of the next phase of Rafe’s remarkable journey. He went on to co-found the massively successful Crowdfunder, and today he’s the “Lead Insurgent” at COMMON, a creative accelerator and community that helps entrepreneurs build, launch and promote groundbreaking business ideas.

In this episode, co-host Sean Spear talks to Rafe about this extraordinary entrepreneurial journey, what being a professional poker player taught him about life and business, and how he bounced back from Full Tilt’s very public implosion.

We also take a look into the future, at the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and how – according to Rafe – these will majorly impact society for years to come.


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