The Consumer VC: Venture Capital I B2C Startups I Commerce | Early-Stage Investing

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The Consumer VC takes a look into early-stage consumer investing and venture capital. If you are interested in learning about consumer trends, have a b2c business and interested in learning about the fundraising process at the early stage, you have come to the right place. Mike interviews some of the top venture capitalists in the world that focus on B2C and consumer type companies or have a deep track record investing in these categories such as marketplaces, SaaS, social, CPG and non-tech subscription. Mike also interviews founders that are building some of the most disruptive consumer facing companies in the world. The conversation usually includes the insight the founder discovered, fundraising strategy, and the pitch. This podcast also includes bonus episodes. Each bonus episode dives into a particular subject that might not have to due with the fundraise or venture capital, but still would be helpful to founders. For example, a bonus episode on brand strategy or how to construct a board of directors. All bonus episodes will be clearly labeled. For all episodes, please visit www.theconsumervc.com. For updates, you can follow @mikegelb on Twitter.

Mike Gelb


    • Dec 2, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
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    • 38m AVG DURATION
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    Latest episodes from The Consumer VC: Venture Capital I B2C Startups I Commerce | Early-Stage Investing

    Holiday Recap: Andy Dunn, Founder of Bonobos

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 26:56

    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Early bird applications for the Core Sprint are now open - use the exclusive code EARLYBIRD2021 if you apply before Dec 1 Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort This episode is a highlight from my conversation with Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos.

    Holiday Highlights: Alex Fine, CEO of Dame Products

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 22:51

    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Early bird applications for the Core Sprint are now open - use the exclusive code EARLYBIRD2021 if you apply before Dec 1 Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort This episode is a highlight from my conversation with Alex Fine, Founder and CEO of Dame Products. To listen to the full episode, Click Here. 

    Denise Woodard (Partake Foods) - How Her Daughter Inspired Denise to Leave Her Well Paying Job and Create A Cookie Everyone Can Eat, How She Started in Retail from Day One, and Impact of COVID

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 35:52

    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Early bird applications for the Core Sprint are now open - use the exclusive code EARLYBIRD2021 if you apply before Dec 1 Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort Thank you Charlie Hanna for the intro to our guest today, Denise Woodard CEO and founder of Partake Foods. Partake Foods is produces super delicious cookies are made with real, healthy, and safe ingredients that everyone can enjoy gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and free of the top 14 allergens, our super delicious cookies are made with real, healthy, and safe ingredients that everyone can enjoy. We discuss the origin story of Partake and inspiration from Denise's daughter, that decision of leaving Coca-Cola, how she managed to get into grocery stores and raise capital. A few questions I ask Denise Why did you decide to leave big corporate CPG and your job at Coke in order to start Partake Foods? How did you approach experimenting with ingredients, tastetesting and finding the right formula? How did you go about building your supply chain? What were some of your learnings working for Coke that helped you build Partake Foods? Once you had your product what channels did you start off with? When did you realize you were on to something? When and why did you decide to raise venture capital?What was your fundraising strategy Once you got into retail, what was the strategy to expand? How did COVID affect Partake Foods? Since you grew and are growing so fast, how do you think about leadership and building/hiring a team? What's the future of Partake Foods? What's next on the horizon? What's one thing that you would change about venture capital and fundraising? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?

    Lori Coulter (Summersalt) - How She Built an Inclusive Swimwear Brand

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 37:19


    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort   Thank you Madeline Keulen for the intro to Lori Coulter, founder of Summersalt. Summersalt produces flattering swimwear designed to fit you, not the other way around. The internet's favorite swimwear — & your new go-to for everything from activewear to PJs. It was so fun chatting with Lori about how she developed Summersalt into one of the fastest growing swimwear brands. Without further ado, here's Lori. Here are some of the questions I ask Lori. What was your attraction to fashion? You were designing swimwear for 10 years, what sparked Summersalt? Body scanning Could you IP Scanned over 10,000 women, 1to1 fit Customer who was neglected What was the insight that you found that incumbents weren't understanding? How did you approach distribution? What was the old way to distribute swimwear and gain consumer trust? Resort businesses Privacy from the own home, direct mail How did you approach brand and your positioning? Swimwear (I'd imagine) is a seasonal business. How do you think about introducing new products so you aren't only a seasonal business? How did you go about hiring a team? Why did you decide to raise venture money?How was that process? What's the biggest reason why a fund passed on you? What's one thing you would change about the fundraising process? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?Peter Thiel Zero to OneBillion Dollar Brand What's the best piece of advice that you've received?The highs are never as high as you think they are What's one piece of advice for founders?


    Sarah LaFleur (M.M.LaFleur) - Changing workwear for women and adapting through COVID

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 41:50

    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort  Thank you Will McClelland for the intro to our guest today, Sarah LaFleur, founder of M.M.LaFleur. M.M.LaFleur creates luxury apparel and accessories with the same attention to detail as high-end fashion houses. This was a great chat about how to launch an apparel brand and as well as how to adapt during COVID and new market tastes. Without further ado, here's Sarah. Some of the questions I ask her: What was your attraction to entrepreneurship? Why did you decide to focus on women's workwear? What were the current options for women when it came to workwear and what did you set out to change? What were the first steps when deciding you wanted to found the company? How did you think about sourcing materials? What was your approach to production? How do you approach personalization to your customers? What was the launch strategy? How did you reach your target audience? Has COVID changed your business since people are not yet going back into the office? As we come out of COVID (hopefully soon), what do you see changing when it comes to formal wear (if anything)? When did you decide to raise capital?What was that process like?What was the most common reason why an investor would pass? What's one thing you would change about the fundraising process? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?The Second Sex by Simone DebuarInternal What's one piece of advice for founders? What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Michael Markesbery (OROS) - How he is Sciencing the S*** Out of Everything and Bringing Space Tech to Outdoor Apparel

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 44:51

    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort My guest today is Michael Markesbery, co-founder and CEO of OROS. OROS produces award winning apparel with their patented SOLARCORE® Insulation. It's the warmest Zero-Bulk Gear. In Michael's words, they science the shit out of everything when it comes to outdoor apparel that keeps you warm. This was such a fun chat about how he's building this incredible brand that uses space technology to build their product. Without further ado, here's Michael. What was your attraction to space? How did you develop a relationship with NASA? Arogel - very brittle Arogel to foam Solarcore Really warm fiber What IP How did you come up with the idea for OROS? Walk us through the technology. Why did you think there was a need for this? What was your first product? When did you decide to fundraise?How was that experience?What was investor reactions? Where did you decide to sell? What was the launch strategy? How do you describe your target consumer? What were some of the stumbling blocks along the way? Are you the exclusive holder of the license with NASA? What's that relationship like? What's your percentage of B2C vs. B2G sales? What do you have on the roadmap for new products? What's one thing you would change about the fundraising process? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received?Don't ever ask for favors, ask for advice What's one piece of advice for founders?Take the moonshot

    Jeremy Cai (Italic) - How he created THE C2M Online Marketplace for Luxury Goods, What he learned from Amazon and Costco, and The Evolution of eCommerce

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 41:43

    Presenter: Burkland Associates helps you build the right systems that can keep up with your growth and can handle all the finance, accounting, tax and hiring services that consumer startups need to scale. For more information head to burklandassociates.com Presenter: Skillful runs online, immersive programs that help people launch and accelerate their careers in business roles in tech - Strategy & Ops, Product, Strategic Finance and Growth. Click Here to Apply to the Next Cohort Thank you Daniel Gulati for the introduction to our guest today, Jeremy Cai, founder and CEO of Italic. Italic is the destination for the best luxury goods without the brand names. In this episode we touch on his unique C2M business model in luxury, the evolution of ecommerce, learnings from Costco and Amazon and his approach to scale. Without further ado, here's Jeremy. Questions I ask Jeremy: What was the insight that led you to found Italic and how did you approach the business model? What were some of the first steps you took whether that's market research or speaking with manufacturers that helped made you release this could be an opportunity? Now Italic changes the manufacturers business model? Since your dealing with manufacturers directly, what is there business model. I'd image it's heavy inventory When it comes to ecommerce, how do you think about differentiation and your focal point in building a marketplace + subscription business? Who do you believe is your target customers? Walk us through a little bit of the world of contract manufacturing and your model?Do contract manufacturers typically have exclusive partnerships with the major brands?How do you ensure quality?What's your current take rate?What's the delivery process?What is C2M? Has it been the missed opportunity in ecommerce?How do you see the model evolving? What were some of the effects of COVID? As retail opens back up, how do you think about What's the vision? What are we going to see from Italic in the next 5-10 years? What was your approach to fundraising? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice to founders?

    Tali Vogelstein (Avid Ventures) - Are Valuations High, How to invest globally, and What Verticalized Fintech means

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 49:40

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Click Here to get started. Our guest today is Tali Vogelstein, who is one of the founding investors at Avid Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in NYC that invests in visionary founders building transformative businesses across consumer internet, fintech, and software in North America, Europe, and Israel. On this episode, we focus on how to invest at a global scale and the opportunities, breaking down different verticals for fintech, as well as their fund strategy. Here's some the questions I ask Tali: What was your attraction to finance and venture capital? How did Avid Ventures come together? What's the structure of how you deploy capital? How do you think about risk? Why do you choose not to lead rounds? How do you stay price disciplined? How do you think about market size? How do you make sure you don't underestimate markets? What do you think about copying business models, x for y market that work well in one market and a founder is trying to replicate that business in a new market? How do you think about the current environment where you have soaring evaluations? What's the biggest misconception when it comes to fintech? How do you think about distribution innovation vs. product distribution? Since you invest globally, how do you think about markets and consumer or prosumer pain points?How do you analyze that pain point?How do you analyze if this is a good market to invest in? What makes a market nice to invest in? How do you break down future of work? What type of businesses are you bullish on? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one thing book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Jon Sebastiani (Sonoma Brands + Krave) - Growing up as a winemaker, How he started, scaled, sold Krave and why he decided to buy back the brand, & What's next in consumer

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 70:54

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Click Here to get started. Thank you Ben Jang for the intro to our guest today, Jon Sebastiani, founder of Sonoma Brands and Krave Jerky. Sonoma Brands is a private equity firm focused on the growth sectors of the consumer economy. Krave was one of the first better for you beef jerky brands on the market. Jon is the first founder we've had on this show that not only scaled and sold his company to a strategic, but also reacquired the company. Some of the questions I ask Jon: You're a fourth generation wine maker, and was president of Viansa winery. Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur and focus on beef jerky? What were your first steps when you decided to start the brand? When did you realize Krave was gaining traction? What were some of the things you did right or went your way that led to Krave's success? Looking back, what were some of the mistakes that you made? How did the sale to Hershey come about? Why did you decide to create Sonoma Brands? Why do you decide to focus on the growth stage instead of early stages? What's different creating and scaling a brand now vs. when you did it with Krave? What are elements you look for in businesses? What is the opportunity investing in consumer brands? Why did you buy Krave back? What are current trends you're passionate about? Do you only look at single category businesses? How do you think about growth vs. profitability? Is there a trend that you think is misunderstood? As an investor what is a good exit? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Stuart Landesberg (Grove Collaborate) - How he built a brand devoted to eco-friendly products and why inve

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 52:46

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Click Here to get started. Thank you Paul Martino for the intro to our guest today Stuart Landesberg, founder of Grove Collaborative. Grove Collaborative delivers eco-friendly home essentials, including household cleaning, personal care, baby, kid, and pet products. I had a blast chatting with Stuart. I know I say that a lot, but I found how he started and grew Grove Collaborative and dealt with the challenges that he faced especially raising capital fascinating, and really enjoyed learning from him. Some of the questions I ask Stuart: What was your attraction to entrepreneurship? How did Grove Collaborative come together? What was the insight? How do you think about price? How do you balance creating and sourcing products that are better for the planet but are also able to compete in price against products that are not good for the planet / the incumbents? How did you pay attention to growth? How do you decide to launch a new product?Unique level of customer dataHow were you able to build this community? Commitment to innovation? Did you start out solely and then an online retailer and then decide to create your own brands? How do you curate third party brands? How do you pick your partners? How do you approach tone and the Grove customer? How did you approach growth and scale? How do you build consumer trust and balancing lots of SKUs, lots of choices but also simplicity? What was your approach to hiring? You will also be creating your own stores? Why did you decide to fundraise? What was your fundraising process? What was the reaction from investors in the beginning? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's one piece of advice that you have for founders? What's the best piece of advice that you've received

    Carter Reum (M13) - Why LA is the Place to Build a Consumer Company, His Approach to Fund Differentiation, and Starting a Venture Capital Fund with you Brother

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 52:26

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Click Here to get started.  Our guest today is Carter Reum, Co-Founder of M13. M13 is one of the largest LA-started venture capital fund. Some of their investments include Lyft, Tonal, Classpass, Daily Harvest. Previously Carter founded VeeV, the alcohol grain spirit brand. This was a fun conversation where we discuss how to build a modern venture capital consumer-focused fund, technology thesis, and evolution from fund 1 to 3. Some of the questions I ask Carter What was your attraction to venture capital? How did M13 come together? Build a platform - what does that look like? How then do you think about distribution What's the opportunity you are seeing in consumer technology?How has your thesis evolved from fund 1 to fund 3?Why have you shifted your focus away from digitally native brands? I've talked with investors who don't want to have a significant increase in the AUM of their fund and specialize. You have seemed to take the opposite approach as each new fund has grown quite significantly. What is the strategy? Why are you bullish on LA?What's most misunderstood about LA as a startup hub? What were your learnings through the pandemic? Great seed investors, but nowDid this change your approach to specific sectors? Today there is so much money in venture capital and the private markets. It's extremely competitive for deals. How do you think about price discipline, speed and diligence in today's market?ConcentrationDiligence cycle How do you think about fund differentiation?Propulsion Firm - how can I help How do the various parts to your fund interact with one another?Since you also launch companies from your studio, when do you think about building vs. buying a piece of another company? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What was your biggest learning during COVID? What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?Assessing and evolving growth vs. fix mindsetNeeds to be a story teller Is it tough working with your brother Courtney? What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Will Schmitt (Miroma Ventures) - Investing with a value add, considerations before heading to retail and pulling the right levers for growth

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 47:22

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist.  Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Click Here to get started.  Our guest today is Will Schmitt, Head of Venture Strategy at Miroma Ventures. Miroma just launched a $100 million fund focused on consumer and media brands. Previously he was at Naturaza and led investments in OROS, Yellowbird - If you remember the founder of Yellowbird, and Cleancult. He also previously co-founded Trail Post Ventures with Nick Mindel. We discuss how Will thinks about fund differentiation, starting a business online vs. retail, and pulling the right levers for growth. Without further ado, here's Will. Some of the questions I ask Will: What was your attraction to finance and consumer? What were doing before Miroma Ventures? How did you end up joining Miroma?  How do you think about fund differentiation? When do you typically like to partner with companies? I've had on investors who say for digitally native brands, don't touch paid marketing until you get to $1 million in sales via word of mouth. I've had other investors who say the bar is so high that you should only really be thinking about raising venture capital if you have a $10 million revenue run rate. How do you think about the right growth levers, when to use them and if a company can be venture backabl When are early signs that a consumer brand has gotten past the noise? Community has become a bit of buzzword. How have you seen brands build community? One of your missions is to invest in under represented founders, particularly female founders. As Claire Diaz-Ortiz said on her episode if you don't have a biast, you actually aren't human and the biasm in venture is people typically invest in people who look like them. i.e. overwhelming majority of VCs are white males, so the majority of founders that get funded are white males.What do you do differently? How do you think about breaking that mold and make sure you have a diverse network? How do you think about diversification? What does a great exit look like for you? I've had on Ernesto Schmitt (related?) and he said that brands are heading into retail way too early. I then had on Andy Dunn from Bonobos who thinks you should start in retail from the very beginning. When do you think is the right moment to head into retail? What are some of the particular verticals or trends that you are excited about? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Doug Hudson (Tend) - The First Dentist You Look Forward To Visiting

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 43:53

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Click Here to get started.  My guest today is Doug Hudson, founder and CEO of Tend. Tend has reimagined the entire dental experience with transparent pricing, modern studios & no judgment ever. Previously he founded several consumer health companies. In this chat we discuss building companies in regulated sectors, why he decided to focus on disrupting the dental industry, and how he approaches expansion. Some of the questions I ask Doug: You've built multiple businesses in heavily regulated industries, what was your attraction to heavily regulated industries? When you founded Tend, what was the fresh perspective and opportunity that you saw?What was the opportunity in dental?When you say direct to consumer when it comes to dentistry, what do you mean by that?How does the online experience relate to the in-store experience?How you go about building a brand around a patient journey The NPS score for dentists are generally, very low. How did you think about improving that score in the category with Tend? So once you decided this was the next opportunity, what were some of the first steps to building Tend?How did you pick the first location?How do you think about retail design and ambiance for each location?How did you approach building a brand? What was your approach to attracting customers? How do you think about the different components of Tend?What's the decision making process like when launching new products? What's your approach to city expansion? Why did you decide to fundraise from venture capitalists? What was your approach to fundraising?What was your process?What was the biggest reason why investors past? What's one thing you would change about the fundraising process? What's one book that inspired you professionally and one book that inspired you personally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Claire Díaz-Ortiz - Why solo female founders are underserved, investing early in LATAM, and getting the Pope on Twitter

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 44:41

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Head Here to get started. My guest today is Claire Díaz-Ortiz, who is a venture capitalist and author of 9 books including twitter for good and design your day and is based in Argentina. She was one of the early employees at Twitter who has been dubbed "The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter" and Claire has also been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. In our conversation we discuss her early blogging days and the rise of social, how to back more diverse founders, evaluating solo founders and Latin America. Some of the questions I asked Claire: What was your initial attraction to technology and how did you end up as early employee at Twitter? What were some the initiatives did you How did you get the pope on Twitter What are some of the strategies that you've seen work for entrepreneurs when it comes to growing their business on social media, particularly Twitter? How do you think about the future of social? We've talked about on this show how brands of today are founder driven, meaning the founder's story and ability to story tell can be a large part of what's resinating with consumer. When you are underwriting, how do you think about the separation from the founder and the business? You invest in both Latin America and the US. What are some of the biggest opportunities in the the latin American market within B2C facing businesses?What's most misunderstood about Latin America by U.S. investors? Walk us through your due diligence process. How do you evaluate opportunities? One of the parts of venture capital is bringing more diversity to the table, especially women, and investing in more women founders. What has to change in order for this to happen? I believe even before the pandemic, you were a proponent on using Zoom and online communication tools as a way to meet new people and invest. Now we've seen an acceleration of this during COVID, but how does this change where venture ecosystems exist? What's one thing that you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received? What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Andy Dunn (Bonobos) - How he created Bonobos, why they sold to Walmart, the current state of DNVBs, and a sneak peek of what he's doing next

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 50:59

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Click Here to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Head Here to get started. Thank you Susan Lyne for the introduction to our guest today, Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos. Bonobos was one of the first digitally native brands to exist. They eventually sold to Walmart for over $300 million. In this episode, Andy shares the founding journey of Bonobos, how he thinks about the current state of digitally native brands and a clue about what he's up to next. Without further ado, here's Andy. Some of the questions I ask Andy: What was your initial attraction to entrepreneurship? You started Bonobos at Stanford. How did you meet your co-founder Brian Spaly? Did you have other business ideas? How did you land on pants? What was the insight? What was the customer feedback? What was first step for testing out this idea? Why did you decide to move the business to New York instead of staying the bay have access to tech talent? How did you find your first customers and gain early momentum? We talk on this podcast about doing things that don't scale in the early days. What were some of the activities you did that wouldn't have scaled? When did you decide to sell online? When did you decide to raise capital? Who was your first investor? What are the aspects of Bonobos that resonated with them? Who was your target customer? How were you able to get to your customer? Why did you decide to move the company to New York? Why weren't you ready for a Series A? Was it hard to recruit tech talent in New York? How did you approach hiring? How were you able to attract talent? How did you build culture? How did you approach growth vs. profitability? When did you decide (if you decided) to focus on profitability? Didn't know how to build the tech stack? How did you approach hiring tech talent? When and how did you develop the concept for guideshops? What was your omnichannel strategy? What was your approach to leadership? When and how did you develop the concept for guideshops? What was your omnichannel strategy? When was the moment when you knew the trajectory of Bonobos was looking good? What was your approach to leadership? When did you decide to do paid marketing? What were some of the challenges and trials you had to face while you were building Bonobos? What were some of the mistakes that you made during Bonobos? What was the process like selling to Walmart? I know you also invest as well. How do you describe the current landscape of DNVBs?How do you evaluate brands and founders? What's one thing you would change about the fundraising process? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's one piece of advice that you have for founders currently building? What are you currently working on?

    Rui Ma (Tech Buzz China) - Chinese Crossover Brands, C2M Supply Chains and Future of Livestreaming

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 44:43

    Presented by Ferret: Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Head to [ferret.ai](http://ferret.ai/) using promo code: CONSUMERVC to jump to the top of the waitlist. Presented by Gorgias: Gorgias is the #1 helpdesk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, and can turn your customer support into a profit center.If you're looking to increase your retention for your business, mention Consumer VC and get 2 months of Gorgias for free. Head [Here](https://www.gorgias.com/?gspk=bWlrZWdlbGI4MTk3&gsxid=h9iBxY4DHuTn) to get started. Our guest today is [Rui Ma](https://twitter.com/ruima), who is the founder of [Tech Buzz China](https://www.techbuzzchina.com/) and helps funds identify tech investments in both the U.S. and China. Tech Buzz China is a podcast and a community for those interested in China tech. I've been a fan of Tech Buzz China for a long time and learned so much about the ecommerce innovation that's happening in the east from Rui. As you might be thinking, we're going to discuss the Chinese cross over brands in this episode and talk about C2M businesses and how supply chains have changed over the past few years. 1. What was your initial attraction to technology? 2. You've worked as an investor for a long time, what propelled you to also found Tech Buzz China? 3. What are some of the differences in consumer behavior in China and the United States? 4. What needs to happen in order to bring livestream to the masses in the west? 5. Do you think the creator economy is going to develop like it has in China with livestreamers considering to IPO? 6. How do ecommerce platforms test new features? 7. What do you make of Chinese brands coming to the west and having success? 1. Do you believe Chinese consumer brands today are facing an opportunity like Japanese brands in the 70s (on the cusp of becoming global) 2. If you are an American brand is it more difficult to gain a presence in China? 8. You mention that now it's a super efficient time to build brands in China. Why is this so? 9. Unlike startups in the US may choose to bootstrap and grow their business slowly, many businesses in China just want to make a quick buck, they usually get involved in raising very early. Do you think CPG startup bootstrapping stands any chance in China? 10. Would love your take on valuations / multiples of a traditional business vs a software business. It seems a much more traditional business (like a Starbucks, which has a sizable digital retail component) than a software / platform / digital business? 11. What do you think Americans most misunderstand about the Chinese consumer tech? 12. What's one book that impacted you professionally and one book that impacted you personally? 13. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Andrea Hippeau (Lerer Hippeau) - Investing in Pet Care, When a Digitally Native Brand Should Head Into Retail and Raising from Family Offices vs. VCs

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2021 34:43

    Ferret is the first relationship intelligence tool for all business savvy investors to know, for the first time, who they can trust Head to [ferret.ai](http://ferret.ai/) using promo code: CONSUMERVC to jump to the top of the waitlist. Our guest today is [Andrea Hippeau](https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-hippeau-64658227/), Partner at [Lerer Hippeau](https://www.lererhippeau.com/). Lerer Hippeau is a New York based early stage venture capital fund with some of their investments include Allbirds, Chubbies, Cotopaxi and Glossier. We discuss how to invest in pet products, measuring environmental and sustainability, and what makes a digitally native brand venture backable. Some of the questions I ask Andrea: 1. What was your initial attraction to venture capital? 2. Difference between family office vs. venture capital? 3. What interests you in consumer brands? 4. How do you think about regulation? 5. How do you measure environmentally and sustainability? 6. In an era where you don't have those growth marketing arbitrage opportunities on FB and Google, what makes you excited about investing in brands today? 7. One of your areas of expertise is the pet space. How do you dissect such a large market? 1. What particular sub segments are you most fascinated by and growing? 2. What areas do you think are over saturated? 8. What were some of your biggest learnings during COVID? 9. I had on Ernest Schmitt from The Craftory who made the case that digitally native brands are hitting retail way to early. When do you think it's appropriate to go into retail? 10. Has Figs going public changed any of your perception of the scale relating to digitally native brands? 11. What are the typical gross margins, CAC/LTV ratio or pay back period you like to see in a company today? 12. What make a digitally native brand venture backable? 13. How do you analyze companies and figure out if a company has gotten past the noise and could be venture scalable? 14. As we (hopefully) come out of COVID soon, what questions are you asking yourself relating to how consumers are going to spend their time and money? 15. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 16. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? 17. What's one piece of advice that you have for founders? 18. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Kevin Campos (Fifth Wall) - Why Landlords Should Love Tech Enabled Tenants, Omnichannel Strategy For DNVBs and Growing Up in Retail

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 42:25

    My guest today is [Kevin Campos](https://fifthwall.com/team/kevin-campos), Partner and Head of Retail at [Fifth Wall](https://fifthwall.com/). Fifth Wall manages the largest fund specialized in real estate technology. On the retail side, some of their investments include Allbirds, Cotopaxi and Foxtrot. This was an awesome conversation about Kevin's upbringings in retail, how that shaped his career, the changes in retail during COVID and why landlords should be open to tech enabled tenants and their advantages. Without further ado, here's Kevin. Some of the questions I ask Kevin: 1. What was your attraction to retail? 2. What were some of your learnings from your parents since they were both business owners? 1. Summer Camp Campos was working in the 3. What attracted you to work at Fifth Wall and on the investing side of retail? 1. Operating ideas 2. Ideas vs. execution 4. How do you think about investing in consumer brands in this current environment? 5. We've talked on this show about the changes in retail during COVID, which were drastic. How has (or has) that changed your thinking when you're advising companies if/when they should go into retail? 6. Recently I had on Ernesto Schmitt, co-founder of the venture fund The Craftory and he said that he believes alot of digitally native brands are heading into retail way to early. How do you make of the current market? 7. What are some creative growth strategies you've seen brands incorportate? 8. How important is Amazon to a brand strategy? 9. How will the retail store change as we come out of COVID? 10. Do you have to be a sustainable brand to win? 1. Also, what does sustainability mean to you? 11. Are there certain markets or parts of certain cities within the U.S. that you think are destined to become a retail destinations? 12. When does it make sense for a brand to create their own stores as opposed to go wholesale when thinking about expanding into retail? 13. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 14. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? 15. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Gabby Etrog Cohen & Tehmina Haider (Harry's) - Building Harry's Portfolio of Brands

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 37:06

    Thank you Mike Duda for the intro to our guests today, [Gabby Cohen](https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabby-etrog-cohen-b91a635/) and [Tehmina Haider](https://www.linkedin.com/in/tehmina-haider-9081614/). Gabby is the Global head of intergrated marketing at [Harry's Inc](https://www.harrys.com/en/us). and Tehmina is Head of Harry's labs. It was amazing learning about the evolution of Harry's from a razor and shaving company, developing products in new categories and creating a portfolio of brands by both building and acquiring other consumer brands. In this episode you'll learn their approach brand development, the types of brands they look to acquire and how they think about different sales channels. Without further ado, here's Gabby and Tehmina. Some of the questions I ask Gabby and Tehmina: 1. What attracted each of you to work and be part of Harry's? 2. Gabby - How would you describe or pitch Harry's brand to someone who had never interacted or heard of Harry's? 3. How does Harry's approach innovation? 1. Are there macro trends or consumer behaviors that might be an umbrella or a north star 2. What is Harry's Labs? 3. Is there a shared customer 4. When does it make sense to have more of an 5. What types of companies do you look to acquire? 6. How do you make that decision of building in house vs. acquiring? 7. What's Harry's advantage and what could brands gain when acquired? 4. When you build new brands like Flamingo, Cat Person and Headquarters, how do you think about sales channels to sell product (DTC vs. wholesale) and channel mix? 5. How would you describe this current era of DNVB? 6. Has COVID changed which categories you want to focus on when it comes to innovation? 7. What's one thing you would change about the perception of consumer brands? 8. What's one book that inspired each of you personally and each of you professionally? 9. What's the best piece of advice that you've received? 10. What's one piece of advice for founders building brands? 11. What's one book that inspired each of you personally and one book that inspired each of you professionally?

    Neil Sequeira (Defy) - When to invest before the Series A, the verticalization of social and the future of celebrity co-founded business

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 47:02

    Our guest today is [Neil Sequeira](https://www.linkedin.com/in/neil-sequeira-76739a40/), Co-Founder & Managing Director at [Defy](https://defy.vc/). Defy backed exceptional entrepreneurs at the early stages. Some of their investments include Fable, Triller, and Boom Sports. Previously, Neil served as Managing Director of General Catayst and has been a venture capitalist for the past 20 years. I had a blast chatting with Neil about the current state of VC, celebrities cofounding consumer companies, the verticalization of social and categories he's comfortable writing the first check in. Without further ado, here's Neil. Some of the questions I ask him: 1. What was your initial attraction into venture? 2. How did you make your way into venture capital? 3. You've had a ton of experience investing in consumer technology and consumer goods companies. How do you think about the market today? When things are tough 4. What's your approach for looking at opportunities? 5. What's your due diligence process? 6. How do you think about fund differentiation? 7. How do you approach price and ownership? 8. When I talk to investors, deals are closing really fast. Their wish is for the market to actually move slower. Have you had to alter at all your due diligence process at all to get to conviction faster? 9. What makes a good board member? 10. What does an entrepreneur really want? 11. Do the things that makes their life easier 12. What has been your biggest learning from COVID? 13. How are you seeing the world of startups and venture capital as the world begins to open up? 14. How has venture capital changed? 15. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 1. Very diverse firm 2. People invest in people who look like them 16. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? 17. What's the best piece of advice that you've received? 18. What's one piece of advice for founders currently building?

    Alexa von Tobel (Inspired Capital) - The evolution of New York's startup ecosystem, staying price discipline and what it means to be a generalist

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2021 42:17

    My guest today is [Alexa von Tobel](https://twitter.com/alexavontobel), Founder of [Inspired Capital](https://inspiredcapital.com/) and [LearnVest](https://learnvest.com/). Inspired is a generalist fund based in New York City that backs early-stage founders with transformative ideas. Some of their companies include Chief, Geneva, Public and Snackpass. They recently closed their second fund of $281 million investing in seed and series A companies. She also founded LearnVest, which was an American financial planning company which she sold for $250 million. In this episode we discuss how New York's entrepreneurial and venture capital scene has risen in the past 15 years, her approach to investing as a generalist and staying price disciplined in this current market. Without further ado, here's Alexa. Some of the questions I ask Alexa: 1. So what inspired you to start Inspired Capital? 2. How did the fund come together? 3. What was fund 1's focus? 4. Unfair advantages? 5. Operational experience to be a great investor? 6. What were some of your biggest learnings through fund 1? 7. How do you approach investing at seed and Series A? 8. How has New York transformed as a startup and venture ecosystem in the past 15 years? 1. What verticals in New York are you most excited about? 9. How is fund 2 going to be different from fund 1? 10. How do you think about price discipline in the current market? 11. Is founder-friendly in today's landscape writing a larger check? 12. How do you approach partnering with founders? 13. Are you finding that founders aren't always choosing the highest prices? 14. How do you stay price discipline in this current market? 15. What's your sourcing strategy? 16. What parts of the creator economy excite you? 17. Has COVID changed your mind on any particular verticals? 18. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 19. What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Andrew Gluck (irrvrntVC) - How to evaluate DTC brands with a growth marketers lens, starting a rolling fund and what's next for commerce

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2021 31:20

    Our guest today is [Andrew Gluck](https://twitter.com/irrvrntVC), GP at [irrvrntVC](https://angel.co/v/back/irrvrntvc). Irreverant is a rolling fund that focuses on investing in NextGen Commerce, DTC, & AdTech. Some of Andrew's investments include Haus, Caraway, Cadence, Italic, Poppy and Simple. Previously, Andrew founded and was the COO of the marketing agency Agency Within which generated over $5B for brands looking to maximize profitability. In this episode, we discuss the intersection of growth marketing and investing, how Andrew makes investment decisions based on his background in growth as well as how to choose a growth marketing agency. Without further ado, here's Andrew. Some of the questions I ask Andrew: 1. What was your initial attraction to growth marketing? 2. What are some of the changes you've seen in the past 10 years when it comes to digital marketing and scaling companies? 3. Why did you eventually decide to start your own growth marketing agency? 4. When dealing with digitally native brands, what are some of the aspects within growth that sometimes clients might not understand? 1. If a company has most of its sales on Amazon, does that worry you? 5. When does it make sense for a company to start paid marketing? 1. What's the smallest ad budget you recommend that could give you some idea if it's working? 6. How long should a test be? 7. We've heard time and time again on this show it's the easiest point in time to build a company, the hardest period to build a brand. As an investor and marketer, what has to be compelling about a company in order for you to invest your time or money? 8. We've talked on this show about how choosing an agency can be a difficult thing to do. It's hard to understand 9. How did [irrvnt.vc](http://irrvnt.vc) come together? Why did you decide to create a rolling fund opposed to a traditional venture capital fund? 10. Where does a subscription make sense? 1. What are the advantages of a rolling fund? 11. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 12. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? 13. What's one piece of advice that you have for founders? 14. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Rex Woodbury (Index Ventures) - Web 3.0, Culture and Investing in the Metaverse

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2021 42:32

    My guest today is [Rex Woodbury](https://twitter.com/rex_woodbury?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor), who is a Principal at [Index Ventures](https://www.indexventures.com/). Index Ventures is one of the largest and prestigious VC funds inthe world, Some of the companies they've invested in Robinbood, Roblox, and Glossier. Rex focuses his time on thinking how people, culture and technology intersect. He has an amazing weekly newsletter called Digital Native where he shares what he's observing around these pillars, which I highly recommend. You'll learn in this episode about the metaverse - what it is and how the creator economy, crypto, NFTs, web 3.0 all tie into it as well as different use cases of how people are creating their own digital identities. Without further ado, here's Rex. Some of the questions I ask Rex: 1. What was your attraction to technology and media? 2. How do you describe how technology has shaped culture? 3. What is the metaverse today and how do you see the metaverse evolving? 4. How do you describe Web 3.0? 5. What does community 6. With all this being said, how do you think about the modern community and online community in general? 7. What's the difference between creators and influencers? 8. Creator economy is a very hot sector to invest in. How do you analyze though what's investible and what isn't investible? 9. Which legacy platforms are doing a good job attracting creators and which platforms have work to do? 10. Metaverse 11. What's some of the differences from the legacy social media companies vs. modern ones? 1. Are we going to see platform gatekeepers in the future? 12. How do you think about the future of fame? 13. How are people interacting in the meta verse? Which parts of the metaverse do you find most interesting? 14. There's now so many products that are investible. What are products that you are most interested in becoming investible in the future? 15. In your piece on the digital renaissance, you mention "This gets to the heart of this new economy. It's no longer designed for centralized platforms that monopolize value; it's built for creators and communities." What does this new economy look like? 16. What will the metaverse look like in the next 5 years? 17. What's one part of the creator economy and the metaverse that most investors may not understand? 18. Are we going to see a billion dollar creator? Will creators ever get to be venture backable? 19. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 20. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? 21. What's one piece of advice you have for founders? 22. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Allon Bloch (K Health) - Founding two public companies, the future of health and how to approach which markets are ripe for disruption

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 43:21

    Thank you Daniel Gulati for the introduction to my guest today [Allon Bloch](https://www.linkedin.com/in/allon-bloch-70b1223/), founder and CEO of [K Health](https://www.khealth.com/). K Health is where you can get personalize heath answers and fast. It's the closest doctor's office is in your pocket, Trusted by over 4 million patients. Allon is also a serial entrepreneur who founded not one but two companies that went public - Wix and Vroom. On this show, we ask what's his process to determine whether or not to start a company, how he thinks about markets, why he wanted to innovate within the health sector and much much more. Without further ado, here's Allon. Questions I ask Allon: 1. What was your attraction to be an entrepreneur? 2. What compelled you to start Wix, Vroom and K Health? 3. What makes a market attractive for you to want to start a business? 4. Why health? 5. Walk us through how healthcare currently works? 6. Why has disruption been slow healthcare? 7. What is the biggest problem with healthcare in your mind? 8. Since you didn't come from a healthcare background, how do you approach building a company in an industry that you're new to? 9. What led to the founding of K Health? 10. What was the first problem you wanted to solve? 11. What were the effects of COVID when it came to innovation within healthcare? 12. What is telemedicine and how is K Health different? 13. How do you partner with Primary Care doctors and hospitals? 14. How does the use of AI help primary care doctors? 15. What's next for K Health? 16. What was your approach to fundraising? 17. What are some of the important habits that you've developed? 18. What's one thing you would change about venture capital? 19. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? 20. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Ali Hamed (CoVenture) - The Amazon Opportunity, Future of Social, and Credit at the Early Stages

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2021 46:56

    My guest today is Ali Hamed, co-founder and Partner of CoVenture. CoVenture offers entrepreneurs multiple ways to finance their businesses. Ali is one of the more unique guests we've had on the show simply because CoVenture's model is quite unique as they can underwrite both equity and debt into technology startups. When Ali and I first got talking, he mentioned that he was consumer curious as opposed to a straight consumer investor. We'll unpack that on the show. We also talk about why Ali is so bullish on the Amazon rollups that have been happening, which social media companies are doing a great job appealing to creators and which aren't, and much much more.. Some of the questions I ask Ali: What was your initial attraction to finance and venture capital? How did CoVenture come together? When should consumer entrepreneurs think about credit options and financing vs. raising from traditional venture capital funds? Is credit as a resource underused in consumer startups? What about consumer makes you curious? Why do you think there is a huge opportunity in investing in Amazon as opposed to to Shopify businesses? For a brand on Amazon, how do you think about what is a competitive advantage? We've talked on this show about how you can't build a brand on Amazon. Are we now starting to see companies be able to build a DTC business outside of Amazon? Why do you hate Instagram? How do you think about the future of media and content? What must the legacy platforms do to service creators? How do you view the future of social and online interaction? We spoke about how music has changed to be shorter, and the song's duty is to hit to the chorus faster because you are optimizing for streams. When you look at other forms of content, what are ways technology has changed other formats? What's one piece about the creator economy that other investors might not understand? What's one thing you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Paul Hsiao (Canvas Ventures) - How the Data Economy Is Impacting Consumer and the State of the Series A

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 40:17

    My guest today is Paul Hsiao, co-founder and General Partner at Canvas Ventures. Canvas is one of the leading Series A firms having invested in Zola, Thrive Global and Roofstock. You'll learn what are the ingredients that could make for a spectacular marketplace businesses, what the series a currently looks like, and much much more. Without further ado, here's Paul. And there you have it. It was a pleasure chatting with Paul. You can follow him @paul_hsiao on Twitter. Some of the questions I ask Paul: What was your initial attraction to technology? After Mazu Networks, why did you decide to become a venture capitalist? How did Canvas come together? I know one of your main focuses is marketplace businesses. There's alot of chatter in consumer how consumer SaaS type businesses are becoming the future of consumer software as a primary business model. What do you make of the current landscape? What makes a market place business exciting for you to invest in? What is your due diligence process? What are the metrics you typically see at the Series A? In today's market where it seems like there's more unicorns today than maybe the number of companies that were raising a Series A 10 years ago, what is your expectation when you invest in a company? What's your biggest learning from this COVID period? After a first time founder raises a Series A, what do you find is the most common element that the founder might have a hard time with when it comes to the board meetings? What are some of the differences investing in enterprise vs. consumer facing businesses? I read that one of your passions is the data economy. How do you describe the data economy and what are some of the ways it could transform B2C businesses? What's one thing that you would change about venture capital? What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What's your biggest piece of advice for anyone building businesses that you find yourself saying the most?

    Sam Corcos (Levels) - Solving the metabolic health crisis with real time glucose monitoring

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2021 56:20

    Our guest today is Sam Corcos, co-founder and CEO of Levels. Levels makes it easy for people to see how their diet is affecting both their health and their lifestyle in a quantifiable way by measuring biomarkers in real time. In previous episodes we've discussed tracking your sleep, your exercise. Levels is tracking your blood glucose so you can make better decisions about what you consume. This was a fascinating conversation about how to optimize what you eat and how wearables can help you understand your body better. Without further ado, here's Sam.And there you have it. It was a pleasure having Sam on the show. Highly recommend following him on Twitter @SamCorcos.Some of the questions I ask Sam.What was your initial attraction to entrepreneurship? You started a few companies that were in different categories. CarDash (cardash.com) and what made you interested in the human body?Why did you decide to focus on metabolic health and optimizing your health?Why didn't you want to be on the technical side for Levels?What was it like building a company with 5 co-founders? That might be the most amount of co-founders we've had on this show. What's that dynamic like?Why are we in a metabolic health crisis?Why did you decide to focus on continuous glucose monitoring? Is the change in glucose the best indicator to track what foods are best for you?What are some of the biggest myths when it comes to what a healthy diet actually is?It seems like theres conflicting information about nutrition makes them doubt their food choices. How does Levels help in this capacity?How did Levels come together?What's your approach to nutrition?How did you go about building the product?How did you seek customer validation?What's the most expensive piece to you product?When did you realize this is a consumer need?What was it like going through YC?What was your approach to fundraising?What were some of your biggest learnings during COVID?What were some of the most important habits that you've developed for productivity?How did you think about pricing your product?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally, one book that inspired you professionally?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Ben Savage (Clocktower Technology Ventures) - Why the future is Fintech, Fractional Ownership and Lessons Learned from Ray Dalio

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 53:57


    Our guest today is Ben Savage, Partner at Clocktower Technology Ventures. Ben and his fund focuses on investing in Fintech and financial services. As you could image, we're going to be talking about the consumer side to fintech. You'll also learn how his time working under Ray Dalio at Bridgewater shaped him as an investor, why digitally native financial services haven't taken off as fast as digitally native CPG brands, and opportunities in fractional ownership. Without further ado, here's Ben.Some of the questions I ask Ben:I'd love to first hear about your background since you've had a breadth of experiences as an investor. What was your attraction to finance and how did you get your start?You worked at Bridgewater Associates. On this program we always ask each guest what's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally and Principles has come up time and time again. What was it like working there first hand and what did working with Ray and his team teach you? Transparency you deliver for feedback. Pick your battlesReceive honest feedback for founders?How did Clocktower come together? Why the fintech focus?Why has it taken so long for consumer financial services to be adopted D2C models? Is it harder to obtain consumer trust?How are these consumer financial services able to build trust?What is the reason why AlipayHow do you think about this era of new investable assets? What's not currently investable that you think could be become investable in the future?What's the best new idea that you've heard - fractional ownership, technology is allowing us to trade into tradeable wealth.They say that the future of consumer is fintech. What do you think investors don't understand about fintech?How are you thinking about the current state of cryptocurrency?At a macro lends what makes fintech in Latin America interesting and one of your focuses?Why are the margins going upHow are you going to accelerate consumer adoption for banks?We talk about how every consumer tech company becomes a fintech company. Do you think investors are truly prepared for this?Are you also thinking about ways to make private markets more liquid?What was your biggest learning due to COVID?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?


    Katie Shea (Divergent Capital) - Why Consumer Brands Have Higher Benchmarks Than Ever

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021 43:17

    My guest today is Katie Shea, Managing Partner of Divergent Capital. Katie has had alot of experience on both sides of the table as a founder, operator and angel investor and venture capital. Some of her investments include Cityrow, Parade and Topicals. We discuss why and how she launched a venture fund in the middle of the pandemic, how she approached angel investing, where the bar is for digitally native brands. Without further ado, here's Katie.You can follow Katie on Twitter Here.Some of the questions I ask Katie:I think a great place to start is what was your initial attraction to consumer?Why did you decide to start a fund during COVID?You've been both a founder and early employee. What were some of your learnings in both of those roles?You've worked in marketing with companies, as an employee and consultant. I remember in our first conversation, you spoke about being much more analytical with marketing (figuring out LTV/CAC and optimization) and less brand-marketing oriented. Since we don't have the arbitrage opportunities in growth like we did in the late 00s/early 10s, what are some creative strategies that you've seen in order to have higher LTV/CAC ratios and shorter paybacks?How should a new consumer brand approach growth?As an angel investor, what is your strategy when it comes to portfolio diversification?You invest in both technology and brands. How do you think about portfolio construction?Do you have any advice on folks that are thinking of becoming angels?Divergent Venture Fund started during COVIDWalk me through your due diligence process?What are current trends that you are focused on?When should a consumer brand think about raising capital?What's one thing that you would change as it relates to venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Henri Pierre-Jacques (Harlem Capital) - His mission to invest in 1,000 diverse founders over 20 years

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 46:42

    My guest today is Henri Pierre-Jacques, Managing Partner at Harlem Capital. Harlem Capital is a venture capital firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over 20 years. Some of their investments include Aunt Flow, Blavity, and Repeat. We discuss how to think about impact and opportunity in the early stages of investing, Harlem's thesis and why Harlem wants to be a multi-stage investment firm.And there you have it. It was a pleasure chatting with Henri. Highly recommend following him on Twitter @hpierrejacquesHere are some of the questions I ask Henri:What made you want to transition from private equity to venture capital?Why did you choose to start your own fund instead of joining a fund?How did Harlem Capital come together?What was your process when it came to raising your first fund?What were some of the reasons why investors passed?What is some of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to emerging managers?How do you describe Harlem Capital's focus area?What are some of the particular consumer trends that you are excited about?Why do you think fund 1 and fund 2 outperform?What is your fund model do you tend to be more concentrated or more spray and prey?Do you consider yourself more of a thematic or opportunistic investor? Why?The number of founders who happen to be women or people of color that are venture-backed is extremely low - to say the least. In your years working in venture capital do you see this starting to change on the ground level?We talk about how to receive real changeI believe you recently moved to Miami. What has the venture scene been like? What are your impressions on the startup community?What were your biggest learnings from COVID?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's one piece of advice for founders?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Harpreet Singh Rai (Oura) - How to improve your sleep and why we should track it

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2021 43:35

    Our guest today is Harpreet Singh Rai, the CEO of Oura. Oura is a smart ring that tracks your sleep and links how you sleep to your energy levels through the day. I have one, I love it. I have a bullet journal where I track all my habits and how I'm feeling throughout the day and what I learned is one of the biggest indicators to how I feel and how productive I am is directly tied to how I slept the night before. In this episode we discuss how underated sleep is, how Harpreet became the CEO of Oura and much much more.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Some of the questions I ask Harpreet:You worked in banking for a long time. What compelled you to become an entrepreneur?Why did you decide to focus on sleep? What was the insight that led you to founding Oura?Why did you choose the ring as the type of wearable?When you were figuring out the data in the beginning, what was most surprising anWhat are the metrics/components to get a good night's sleep?What is Heart Rate Variance? How does that effect your sleep?Whilst sleep has been the positioning of Oura, how likely is it that we see fitness tracking being more of a focus?How do you calculate sleep score?How do you calculate readiness score?How does the form factor evolve from here?When do you think you found product-market fit?Why is it ring? - Accuracy and convenienceWhat was market validation to you?Rest modes - Matteo - to help save your lifeHow did you approach growth?When did you decide that you needed to fundraise?What was that process like? What was your strategy?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Bri Kimmel (Worklife Ventures) - Having Fun is Serious Business

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2021 39:23

    Our guest today is Bri Kimmel, Founder of Worklife Ventures. Worklife is the first fund designed for builders, creators & individual contributors. Some of her investments include Clubhouse, Hopin and Italic. We focus this conversation on how having fun is serious business, the ins and outs of the creator economy and evaluating companies where a celebrity is a cofounder.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Questions I ask Bri:How did Worklife VC come together? What compelled you to become an investor and move to the other side of the table?Build a community to make entrepreneurshipZendesk - support leadership forum; large scale community eventsHow do you define a creator? Tech more approachable for local small businesses onlineWhy did you want to specialize in investing in products that help builders, creators, and individual contributors thrive? Cash drops -Year at home, alot of people starting small businessesI bet people will seek shelter and go to stable companiesHealth insurance problem / back office in starting a businessWhat are nuances in the creator economy that you think most people might not understand?What unique ways are you seeing creators build communities?What type of products and needs haven't been met yet for creators?How are you imagining the future of social?What do you also make of celebrities founding companies? Is that going to be the future for launching consumer products? The hardest part is to bring the audience todayWhat are the downsides of having a celebrity co-founder?What were your learnings from how Dispo unfolded?As we come out of this period of COVID, what are you focusing on when it comes to change of consumer behavior?What's your due diligence process when you analyze companies?What's one thing you would change when it came to venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's the best piece of advice that you've received that you've said the most amount of times?

    Haley Rosen (Just Women's Sports) - Starting a sports media company through the pandemic, the relationship between athlete and journalist, and why women's sports are overlooked

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2021 34:16

    Thank you Brian Reilly for the introduction to Haley Rosen, Founder of Just Women's Sports. Just Women's Sports is the first media company solely focused on bringing Women Sports directly to you. Haley is also an athlete. She was one of the top soccer recruits coming out of high school and played on the Stanford team as well as having a professional career. In this episode you'll learn how Haley's decides what type of content to produce, the opportunity she saw and how she views the relationship between athlete and the media plus much much more.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.You can catch Haley on Twitter at @RosenHaley.Questions I ask Haley:What was your initial attraction to soccer and sports?Why did you want to create a media company for women's sports? What was the opportunity that you saw in women's sports?What was the first type of content that you started with?What was the initial reaction?What types of other content did you then roll out?What mistakes did you make?What's the hardest part about starting a media company?How has being so driven in sports and the routines you developed in sports translated in business?How do you think about the sports media landscape currently? You now have alot of networks that are creating their own sports media businesses, do you think there is saturation?I read your article "Letting go of being perfect". When you think of founding a business, what role does perfection have?Has gambling become a gateway for some people to get into women's sports?When did you decide you needed to fundraise?What was that experience like?What was the biggest reason why investors said no?What was your process?What's the most misunderstood about women's sports?Lifestyle angleWhat's the vision and the next step for Just Women's Sports?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?The opportunity comes when peopleWhat's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Jordan Nathan (Caraway) - Scaling one of the fastest growing brands during COVID

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 29:36

    Thank you Ben Zises for the introduction to our guest today is Jordan Nathan. Jordan is the Founder and CEO of Caraway. Caraway crafts well-designed non-Toxic Ceramic Cookware Thoughtfully Designed For Any Type Of Home. On this episode, we discuss why he decided to start a cookware brand when the market seemed saturated, his approach to growth, what it was like raising his first round of fundraising and much much more. Without further ado, here's Jordan.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Question I ask Jordan:What was your attraction to ecommerce?What was your role at Mohawk group? What were some of your learnings?Did you have an attraction to cookingWhat are the nuances to building a brand on Amazon that most might not get?What was the insight that led to Caraway?How did you approach design and your supply chain?What was the go-to-market strategy?Did Caraway benefit from the pandemic since people weren't eating out all the time?How did you approach distribution?How would you characterize your brand and what was your approach to brand positioning?At what point did you believe it could be a big business?Why did you fundraise?What was your fundraising strategy?What was the biggest hang up from investors?What's next on the horizon for Caraway?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders

    Ben West (Spark Grills) - The flavor of charcoal and the ease of gas combine to make the modern precision grill

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021 33:50

    Thank you Tyler Mincey for the introduction to our guest today's guest Ben West. Ben is the founder of Spark Grills, which is precision charcoal grilling meaning it's the best of both worlds. You get the amazing flavor since you're cooking on charcoal, but the ease and temperature precision that's typically associated with gas grills. Previously, Ben founded EcoZoom, which brought efficient cookstoves to areas of the developing world plagued with indoor air pollution. We discuss some of the differences building a company that is tailored towards the developing world vs one that is focused on the developed world, the two groups he considers as Spark Grills target audiences and what it was like launching during COVID.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Questions I ask Ben:What was your attraction to entrepreneurship, wood stoves and grills?What led to the founding of Eco Zoom?What were some of the challenges building a company in developing countries?What inspired you to start Spark Grills?What was the insight?How did you go about developing the product?Why did you think people needed a charcoal grill?How did you think about the competitive set?What was the transition like creating a premium product for developed nations vs. a product for people in emerging countries?How did you decide the channel you wanted to sell on?How do you approach building your brand?didn't have the performance, lifestyleWhat was the go-to-market strategy?Democratize the joy of grillingDemocratize in terms of making grilling easyWhen did you realize you needed to fundraise?What has been the effect of COVID on Spark Grills?What's one thing that you would change about the fundraising process?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?

    Max Niederhofer (Heartcore) - Investing in happiness and the differences scaling in Europe vs. U.S.

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 46:40

    Thank you Marc Nathan for the intro to our guest today Max Niederhofer. Max is a Partner at Heartcore Capital. Heartcore Capital is europe's consumer tech VC focusing on investing in happiness investing in seed and Series A. Some of his investments include Italic, LastFM, and One Fine Stay. Previously Max was an investor at Accel and founded MyBlog. In this episode, we focus on investing in communities, the meaning of consumer, and some of the differences when investing in Europe vs. U.S. Without further ado, here's Max.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.And there you have it. It was pleasure having Max on the show, highly recommend following him on Twitter @maxniederhofer.Some of the questions I ask Max:What was your initial attraction to startups and innovation?Internet in 98 became part of your life?Interested in sub communitiesWhat are some of your learnings since when you founded Myblog and Qwerly?What does consumer investing mean to you and why did you choose to focus on it?What are some of the regions punch above their weightExcellent talent in Europe, it is raw.Way you build talent organicallyAfter you sold your companies, why did you decide to become an investor?Why do you enjoy investing at the early stages vs. growth stages?How do you analyze foundersFor American investors who want to invest in Europe - especially consumer focused companies - what have been some of the biggest misconceptions?How has the European startup ecosystem evolved since you began investing?Are there certain regions that have grown faster than others?What are some of the hurdles when investing in European consumer focused companies?How should European based companies think about growth expanding to other parts of the continent?What makes Europe complex?There's been alot of influx from American VC money into Europe. Do you think there's going to be a rise of more domestic based funds.Has Brexit changed anything so far related to the startup landscape?What are categories and markets that you think are big opportunities in technology that haven't come online?When you think about trends, do you think about what is exciting and interesting in other parts of the world that could be translated and work for Europe?What's your approach to analyzing consumer behavior and habits?How do you analyze founders?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's the best piece of advice you have for founders?What is next in consumer, what are you excited about

    Tige Savage (Revolution) - Investing in regulated industries and outside of SIlicon Valley

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2021 38:33

    Our guest today is Tige Savage, co-founder and managing partner of Revolution Ventures. Revolution a venture capital fund based in Washington, D.C. Some of their investments include RunKeeper, Homesnap, Framebridge, and LivingSocial. This episode really hit home for me. I'm originally from the DC area and love the area. It's probably bad form it's taken me this long to have an investor that's based there on the show. In this conversation you'll learn how Revolution invests in companies that are outside of the bay area, how Tige views risk at the early stages and how he thinks about brands that are sustainable.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Some of the questions I ask Tige:What was your attraction to venture capital?How did Revolution come together?What are the three investment funds that Revolution invests out of?What's interesting about the DC startup ecosystem?Life of revolution - off the beaten path of geographiesSpending time on the roadHow did you think about sourcing, and different regionsWas alot of community buildingReferences were more important than they ever have before?Traded the risks of unknown for pricing risksWhy don't you make investments in the bay area?How do you currently think about price in this market?When investing in pre-product market fit, what are qualities you look for in founders?Are there particular themes in consumer that you focus on or are you more opportunistic?What did you learn from COVID?Digitally native brandsWhat's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?

    Ernesto Schmitt (The Craftory) - Why digitally native brands should wait to head into retail, and investing globally at the Series A

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 44:59

    Our guest today is Ernesto Schmitt, Co-Founder and Arch Craftor of The Craftory, a $375 million global investment fund that invests exclusively in CPG brands. Some of their investments include TomboyX, Hippeas, and Edgard & Cooper. Previously, Ernesto was a serial technology entrepreneur who has had successful exits to Twitter, Snap and Intel. You'll learn why Ernesto believes digitally native brands are heading into retail too early, expectations at the series A and B, and his approach to analyzing founders globally.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Some of the questions I ask Ernesto:What was your initial attraction to technology?What made you want to become an entrepreneur?How did Peoplesound come together? Did you plan on heading into the music world?After being a founder all these years, why did you decide to become an investor and raise a fund?How did The Craftory come together?Why did you only focus on CPG where it seems like most of your experience dealt with technology?How do you evaluate founders and brands?What's your due diligence process like?Do you look at American brands differently than European brands? Are there macro consumer trends in CPG that are different in Europe vs. USA?Has Brexit changed the way you invest or look at companies?When do you think it makes sense for DNVBs to hit the shelves and go into retail?What are opportunities that you are seeing in CPG?What's an example of an investment conflict in CPG?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice you have for founders?

    John Sherwin (Hydrant) - Are we in a dehydration crisis?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2021 44:13

    My guest today is John Sherwin, the founder and CEO of Hydrant. Hydrant hydrates you faster and more efficiently than water alone.In this episode you'll learn about a part of health and wellness that has been overlooked: dehydration and that we're living in a dehydrated economy, why it's underserved, how he grew digitally and why he decided to go into both Walmart and Whole Foods. Without further ado, here's John.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to sign up.Some of the questions I ask John:What was your initial attraction to entrepreneurship?How did you end up founding Hydrant? What was the insight?What did you learn about Dehydration vs. hydration 1.How did you approach validating your idea?What was the DTC strategy?What was life like during COVID? What was going through your mind when everything started shutting down in March last year?What was your omni channel strategy?When did you retailersWhen did you know it made sense to transition from regional to national?How did you approach brand awareness and marketing in secondary and tertiary markets?Since you're in Walmart and Wholefoods, do you approach those customers and consumer segments differently?How do you think about leadership and building a team?Why did you decide to raise venture capital?What was that process like?What's one thing that you think investors misunderstands about being the CEO of CPG brands?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?

    Heather Hartnett (Human Ventures) - The Human Needs Economy

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2021 40:32

    My guest today is Heather Hartnett, CEO and General Partner at Human Ventures. Human Ventures is an early-stage venture studio and venture fund in NYC that backs and builds consumer technology companies. Some of their portfolio companies include Tiny Organics, Toucan, and On Deck. In this episode we discuss their Humans in the Wild program for founders, what is the human needs economy and how companies are building community.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Click Here to learn moreSome of the questions I ask Heather:What was your attraction to entrepreneurship and venture capital?How did Human Ventures come together?What is a venture studio?What makes an assumption reasonable? What are some examples?Why did you want to focus that early in a company's stage?Do you have specific themes you focus on?When building companies, there has been lots of chatter about needing to build a community. What does community mean to you?Does early signs of having a community mean that you are building a cult like brand?How does the fund tie into the studio?Walk me through your due diligence process.What are qualities you look for in founders?What are some of your favorite questions to ask founders?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice that you have to founders?

    Megan Bent (Harbinger Ventures) - Why milk alternatives is in a better position than cell based meat to win, the benefits of a concentrated portfolio, and sharing carried interest

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2021 49:07

    My guest today is Megan Bent, Managing Partner at Harbinger Ventures. Harbinger Ventures is a leading growth-equity investment firm focused on identifying and scaling high-growth companies in the consumer sector. Some of their investments include Once Upon a Farm, Cora and Vinebox.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Some of the questions I ask Megan:What was your initial attraction to consumer packaged good?How do you think about brand authenticityWhy did you decide to focus on venture capital and innovation?What was your first role as an investor?When does it make sense for a CPG company to fundraise from venture capital vs. angels or not fundraise at all?How did you come to found Harbinger Ventures? What's the focus?What are the missed opportunities that you are seeing in consumer?What are some of the positives of having a concentrated portfolio?What's the typically percentage of ownership you typically take?Do you invest in companies that are typically pre product market fit?In CPG, how do you think about IP and competitive moats?How is your model unique compared to other venture models out there?How do you leverage your platform to help founders?What are some of the trends in consumer that you're focused on?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice to founders?

    Tyler Mincey (Bolt VC) - New business models for SaaS + Box, design vs. sustainability and what's next in tech enabled products

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 33:59

    Thank you Kate McAndrew for the introduction to my guest today Tyler Mincey, Partner of Bolt VC. Bolt invests at the intersection of the digital and physical world. Tyler started his career on the ipod team at Apple, focusing on the shuffle, classic, nano and touch. I don't know when I last heard those product lines to be honest. What I loved about our conversation and what you'll learn is Tyler's deep love and appreciation for hardware / tech enabled products. Alot of VCs want to focus on software, but Tyler certainly spends alot of his time looking at physical products that can change our world.Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communication channels including email, SMS, social media, livechat, and phone, into one platform and gives you an organized view of all tickets. Sign up here and mention the Consumer VC podcast for two months free.Questions I ask Tyler.What attracted you to engineering?What was it like working on the ipod and the iphone?So after working at Apple, you ended up working for a product studio and incubator. What attracted you to startups?How did working at a large company like Apple help make you think about innovation?What are some of hardest parts of producing hardware?We've talked about on this show about how important it is to eliminate friction, mostly focusing on user design relating to software. What are some examples in hardware when you are thinking about user design and working with startups?How do you think about design vs. sustainability?What led you to Bolt?Why investing?When you are conducting due diligence on a company, when it comes to product what are you looking for?What makes the team the right team that's worth investing in?How has some of the business models evolved with SaaS with a box companies?What are some of the current trends that you are most excited about?What's one thing you would change when it came to venture capital?What's one piece of advice you have for founders?

    Rachel ten Brink - Founding Scentbird, investing in personal care, and how to grow online

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2021 46:15

    Our guest today is Rachel ten Brink, who is an investor, Founder, CMO, and Board member. She was one of the founders and the CMO of Scentbird, which is a beauty subscription services that let's you choose from over 700 top rated perfumes each month. She also was a Partner at Five Four Ventures. In this episode you'll learn about personal care trends that Rachel is paying attention to, how working in big CPG led her to become an entrepreneur, and what it was like going through Y-Combinator.You can follow her on Twitter @rtenbrink1.Questions that I ask Rachel:What attracted you to a career in consumer packaged goods?What were some of your learnings working in corporate personal care and food and beverage?What attracted you to entrepreneurship and innovation?Tell us a bit of the founding story of Scentbird?What was the opportunity that you saw?What was it like being in YC?How did you approach scaling the business?How did you think approach partnerships?After Scentbird, what attracted you to investing?What do you think alot of investors don't get when investing in consumer packaged goods?What's your investment strategy?What's your advice to founders with how they approach brand?Walk me through your due diligence process.How do you evaluate founders?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?

    Brian Reilly (Will Ventures) - The opportunities investing in sports, media and telehealth

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 45:38

    My guest today is Brian Reilly, founder of Will Ventures. Will Ventures is a venture capital fund that focused exclusively on leveraging the power of sport to shape the future. In this episode (as you can imagine) you'll learn about sports technology, health and wellness innovation and what's next in Media and content and how his upbringing helped shape him as an investor. Without further ado, here's Brian.And there you have it. It was a pleasure chatting with Brian, you can catch him on Twitter @brianreillyvcSome of the questions I ask Brian:Was the idea always to see how you could remain close to sports?What was your attraction to venture capital, innovation and quite honestly being around entrepreneurs?Talk to me about your journey up to founding Will Ventures?Why did you decide to start your own venture capital fund?I was talking to an entrepreneur the other day who is building technology in the sports - media space who told me only a handful of investors truly invest in sports technology. Do you feel the areas that you focus on at Will Ventures is quite niche?How do you describe your investment themes?Walk me through your due diligence process.How do you assess founders?Have there been moments in your life that have impacted how you invest, who you invest in and what you look for?How do you measure grit and what are some of the keys to leadership?What are opportunities that you're currently focused on?Due to COVID and remote work, are you finding yourself seeing more and more opportunities outside the main hubs of entrepreneurship (SF, NYC, LA, Boston etc.)?What's one thing you would change about venture capital process?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's your most recent investment and what makes you excited about it?What's the best piece of advice you've received?What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Sandy Gibson (Better Place Forests) - New natural traditions for your final resting place

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 42:56

    My guest today is Sandy Gibson, founder of Better Place Forests. Better Place Forests is America's first conservation memorial forests. Instead of graves and tombstones, families choose a private, protected family tree to return their ashes to the earth together. In this episode, we talk building a business that focuses on the end of life, burial traditions and cemeteries. Sandy is one of the most unique founders I've had on the show on this and his story is very inspiring.Some of the questions I ask Sandy:What was your initial attraction to entrepreneurship?Why did you decide to focus on the burial / end of life space? - making the world more beautifulTraditional burials have been around for thousands of years. It's typically part of one's tradition and tied to cultures, faiths. When it came to timing of launching your business. Why now? Do you think people were questioning tradition? Was there a certain statistic that stood out?A grave is something that can last forever, at least longer than a tree as all trees just like all living things die. When you think about eternally, how are you able to make people feel comfortable that their resting place will be a tree rather than something that could last longer?How do you describe your target audience?How did you go about securing land?What's the typical sales cycle?This is a sensitive area to talk about. How do you approach that in your marketing?Since this is a product that only one person will buy never again, howWhen did you need to raise capital and why?What was your fundraising strategy?What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice for founders?

    John Gannon (GoingVC) - How to break into venture capital and the power of cohort based learning

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2021 38:04

    My guest today is John Gannon, founder of GoingVC. GoingVC is a VC Career accelerator. GoingVC is designed to help you break into venture capital by directly connecting motivated VC job seekers with VC firms. GoingVC also has its own investment arm. We discuss how to enter VC, the rise of cohort based learning, and what the consumerization of enterprise really means.You can also follow him on Twitter @johnmgannonHere are some questions I ask John:What was your attraction to venture capital?How did you start Going VC? What was the gap you were seeing?Tell us a bit about Going VC?What are some trends in consumer that you are focusing on?How has venture capital changed since you started at a fund after grad school?What are the differences of people in your cohorts that make it into venture vs. those that don't?Are their special skill sets that one needs to have to enter the consumer side?Are you seeing funds become more specialized or more generalists?How do you look at consumer companies?What's one thing you would change about VC?What's your best piece of advice for someone that's looking to go into VC?

    Ben Zises (SuperAngel.Fund) - Starting a rolling fund, what first check-in means, and lessons learned from founding

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2021 53:12

    My guest today is Ben Zises, founder of SuperAngel.fund. SuperAngel Fund is an early stage rolling fund investing in Consumer, PropTech & Future of Work companies. Some of the companies he's invested in are quip, Caraway and Arber. Ben is usually the first check in on the investments that he makes and in our conversation we touch on what's it's like investing in companies pre-product-market fit, learning the mechanics of a rolling fund vs. a traditional venture capital fund.Head over to SuperAngel.fund to learn more about subscribing.You can also follow Ben on Twitter @bzisesHere are some of the questions I ask Ben:What was your attraction to entrepreneurship?After Retail MLS, why did you decide to become an investor?What are some of the challenges when investing in CPG businesses?You say you invest at day 0. what do you mean by that?What are some of the benefits of having a rolling fund vs. traditional venture capital fund?How do you approach portfolio construction?How do you judge founders?Everybody does due diligence a little bit differently. How do you do due diligence when you invest?What are some of the reasons why you might pass?How do you think about digitally native brands today? It's easier than ever to start a digitally native company and there's no longer FB and google arbitrage marketing opportunities.What's one thing you would change about venture capital?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?Not to underestimate anyWhat's one piece of advice that you have to consumer founders?

    Justin Kolbeck (Wild Type) - Creating the most sustainable seafood, the state of the ocean, and developing fast feedback loops

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 41:19

    My guest today is Justin Kolbeck, CEO and co-founder of Wild Type. Wild Type is on a mission to create the cleanest most sustainable seafood on the planet, starting with salmon. This is the first founder of a cell based food company I've had on the show and as someone who didn't know much about cell base food or commercial fishing, this was quite eye opening for me. We talk about the current state of the ocean, the supply chain for fish, the process for producing cell based food and their approach to quick feedback loops in trials.Some of the questions I ask Justin:When were you first introduced to cell based seafood and meat?What was your attraction to entrepreneurship? What was that decision making process like? Was it gradual?What was the insight that led you to founding Wildtype foods?Why is this product so essential for the world? What's the current state of commercial fishing?Why do you believe you were in a unique position to found this company?When founding WildType Foods, what was the first step? How did you approach making a cell based salmon product?Why did you decide to start with salmon?What's your go-to-market strategy?How do you imagine your ideal consumer?Is there a difference in taste?How did you approach investors and raise capital?What's one thing you would change about fundraising or venture capital?What's the best piece of advice that you've received?What's one piece of advice for founders?

    Anna Whiteman (Coefficient Capital) - Bold Marketing Using Non-Standardizing Channels, When a DNVB Should Think About Omnichannel, and Milestones for CPG Companies at Series A

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 1970 53:10


    Anna Whiteman ( https://www.coefficientcap.com/team/anna-whiteman/ ) , Vice President at Coefficient Capital ( https://www.coefficientcap.com/ ). Coefficient Capital is a new venture capital fund that leads early growth investments in fast-moving consumer goods, typically investing in Series A and B rounds. So far they've invested in Just Spices, NomNom, Hydrant and Personal Care. Anna also founded Rad Ladies, a private network of female founders. Previously Anna worked at VMG on investments including Health Warrior and Vermont Smoke and Cure, and also at Tribeca Venture Partners and Credit Suisse. One book that inspired Anna professionally is Stress Test ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N020ZD4?camp=1789&creativeASIN=B01N020ZD4&ie=UTF8&linkCode=xm2&tag=theconsumervc-20 ) by Ian Robertson. One book that inspired Anna personally is A Theory of Justice ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674000781?camp=1789&creativeASIN=0674000781&ie=UTF8&linkCode=xm2&tag=theconsumervc-20 ) by John Rawls. You can follow Anna on Twitter @AnnaWhiteman2. ( https://twitter.com/AnnaWhiteman2 ) You can also follow your host, Mike, on Twitter @mikegelb ( https://twitter.com/MikeGelb ). You can also follow for episode announcements @consumervc ( https://twitter.com/ConsumerVc ). In this episode you will learn - * What attracted her to finance, consumer and startups? Anna walks through her diligence process at the Series A and Series B. What are some of the milestones that startups need to achieve? At what stage do DNVBs usually expand to offline retail? How does she think about subscription vs. non-subscription DNVB businesses? Is there a difference to how she approaches due diligence? How is she thinking about optimizing for profitability vs. growth in today's landscape? * What she think about the future of online advertising? What is Rad Ladies? What are some changes in consumer behavior that she's focusing on? I've heard some folks say on this show it's a contrarian time to be investing in consumer. Why do some folks think that and does she believe it? What is one thing that she would change when it came to venture capital? * What is a company that is on her anti-portfolio? What (if any) lessons did she learn from that? What is one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? What is your most recent investment and what makes you excited about it? What's one piece of advice for B2C founders?


    Steve Sashen (Xero Shoes) - Building the ultimate minimalist shoe

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 1970 54:42

    Our guest today is Steven Sashen ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/sashen/ ) , one of the founders and CEO of Xero Shoes ( https://xeroshoes.com/ ). Xero Shoes produces lightweight minimalist footwear designed for walking, running, and athletics. Here are some of the questions I ask Steven: * How did you discover minimalism shoes and what led you to founding Zero Shoes? * Bring us up to speed. What's wrong with cushioned shoes? * What has been consumer reaction? Do you find there was already a market of consumers who knew about the detriments of cushioning in shoes or did it take lots of consumer education on your end? * What does going all green mean to you and true environmental impact mean to you? * Why did you decide to start with sandals? * One of the things I love about your shoes is that I think they are pretty affordable. I got my Prios I think for $80 and they come with a 5,000 sole * Was there a moment where you thought to yourself "hey this is actually working"? If so when did that moment occur? * What was your approach to your supply chain? * How did you think about expanding the number of products and SKUs? * Can you unpack that in terms of quality control and traditional * It seems like there are a number of shoe companies capitalizing on zero drop, but aren't truly minimalist. Can you unpack the differences? * Why did you decide to raise venture capital and what was your fundraising strategy? * Now you've raised private equity, what's the dynamic like having a board of directors and your decision making process? * When it comes to your own decision making process, what were a few moments that you really learned from that influenced you as a leader? * What's one thing you would change about consumer perception towards our feet? * What's the best piece of advice that you've received? * What's one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?

    Ariel Kaye (Parachute) - Creating the leading brand in bedding and home decor

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 1970 30:21

    Our guest today is Ariel Kaye ( https://twitter.com/arielkaye?lang=en ) , founder of Parachute. Parachute is a vertically integrated high end bedding company that is Designed in LA. Manufactured in Italy. Delivered directly to you. In this episode you'll learn how Ariel saw the opportunity to create a brand in bedding, approached an omni-channel strategy, managing her stores and business during COVID. Without further ado, here's Ariel. You can follow Ariel on Twitter @arielkaye ( https://twitter.com/arielkaye?lang=en ) Some of the questions I ask Ariel: * What attracted you to consumer brands? * What was the insight that led you to founding Parachute? * What was missing from bedding? * What was the competitive stack? * What the supply chain could look like? * What was your approach to brand design? * How did you source your product? * What was your launch strategy? * How did you pick which SKUs to launch with? * How did you pick distribution channels? * What was your approach to retail and omnichannel? * Why did you choose to go direct, creating your own stores? * How do did you think about organic growth vs. paid? * Approach to customer retention and building a dedicated audience. * How did you think about expanding into other categories? * How did you have to pivot during COVID? * As we come out of COVID, what's on the horizon for Parachute? * What was your approach to fundraising? * What's one thing you would change about fundraising? * What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally? * What's the best piece of advice that you've received? * Don't sweat the small stuff * What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?

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