Catharine Dockery (Vice Ventures) – Cannabis, Alcohol, Nicotine, Gambling and Everything Vice

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Our guest today is Catharine Dockery founder of Vice Ventures. Vice Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital fund conquering stigmas and striving towards superior returns by investing in good companies operating in “bad” industries. Investments include early stage startups from non-traditional verticals including, cannabis, alcohol, CBD, e-sports, addiction recovery, sextech, and others. Some of her investments include Recess, Lucy and Player’s Lounge. It was great chatting with Catharine about vice categories since we haven’t covered too much of those categories, so without further ado, here’s Catharine.

You can follow Catharine on Twitter @vice_ventures. You can also follow your host, Mike, on Twitter @mikegelb. You can also follow for episode announcements @consumervc.

One book that inspired her personally is The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. One book that inspired her professionally is The Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

In this episode you will learn –

  1. What attracted her originally to startups and investing?
  2. What compelled her to start Vice Ventures and the opportunity that she saw?
  3. Since there is a vice clause in VCs, is it harder to invest as a syndicate?
  4. Her diligence process.
    1. Founder qualities that she focuses on
    2. How she judges if a founder is honest?
  5. The future of the nicotene industry.
  6. I know another focal point is alcohol and I’ve read a few articles about how Americans are drinking less booze. How she is perceiving that macro industry and what do you look for in founders that are building disruptive alcohol brands?
  7. How is she seeing the cannabis market?
  8. One of the big topics, especially during these times is eSports, which is another area that you focus in. How is she seeing the eSports market develop?
  9. How has COVID affected how she looks at new deals?
    1. Is it harder to establish conviction in a founder when she is talking remotely?
    2. Is she focusing more on the portfolio vs. new deals?
    3. How has she been affected by remote work?
    4. Is she more comfortable investing in companies that are fully distributed?
  10. What’s one piece of advice for founders that are building vice-type businesses?

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