Daniel Gulati (Comcast Ventures) – Execution vs. Network Type Business, How To Think About Winning a Category, and Evaluating Blue Ocean Opportunities

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Our guest today is Daniel Gulati. Daniel has spent the last 6 years at Comcast Ventures, a financially-focused venture capital firm with a 20 year history investing in consumer, enterprise, and frontier technology companies. He joined as Entrepreneur in Residence, and worked his way up the ranks to Principal, Partner and Managing Director at the firm. His seed stage portfolio includes D2C company Away (now worth $1.4B), sports media company The Athletic (reportedly worth over $500M) and digital health company K Health (also worth $500M according to Pitchbook). He recently became Founding Partner of Forecast, an early stage consumer fund.

One book that inspired Daniel personally is Personal History by Kay Graham. One book that inspired him professionally is Growth Fetish by Clive Hamilton.

You can follow Daniel on Twitter and Medium @DanielGulati. You can also follow your host, Mike, on Twitter @mikegelb. You can also follow for episode announcements @consumervc.

On this episode we discuss –

  1. What attracted Daniel to startups? What were some of the learnings at FashionStake? How does he think about opportunistic investors vs. thematic and where does he fall on the scale? How does he think about the corporate VC ecosystem and where Comcast Ventures falls on the financial vs. strategic scale? Execution type businesses vs. network type businesses. What does he mean that CAC is the new rent? Attractive vs. mediocre markets.
  2. How does he think about winning a category or becoming a leader in a category when he is looking at opportunities? How does he think about first mover advantage? How does domain expertise influence investment decision? How does founders having domain expertise influence his decision making process? Do does he think about investing in first time founders vs. seasoned domain experts differently?
  3. Daniel walks us through how he invested in K Health, Away and The Athletic. The effects coronavirus has had on early stage investing. The top mistakes founders make when pitching to VCs. What is one thing that he would change when it came to venture capital? What is a company that is in his anti-porfolio? (Had the opportunity to invest in, didn’t and in retrospect wish did)
  4. What is his most recent investment and what makes him excited about it? What’s one piece of advice for founders of B2C founders?

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