Nick Mindel (Amberstone) – Differences Between Trends and Fads, The Opportunity He Saw Investing In Consumer Brands, Why He’s Bullish On Founders Located In Secondary Markets

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Our guest today is Nick Mindel, Partner at Amberstone. Amberstone invests at the early stages in entrepreneurs building breakthrough consumer companies. Some of their investments include Daily Harvest, Juneshine, Bev and Honey Mama’s. Previously, Nick worked at Piper Sandler and a co-founder of Trail Post Ventures. Thank you Justin Gordon for the introduction!

A book that he recommends that inspired him personally is A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. A book that inspired him professionally is Principles by Ray Dalio. A series that he’s thoroughly enjoyed is The Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown.

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

Some of the questions that I asked Nick –

  1. Tell me your origin story, I know your family was involved in the food and beverage industry, but what initially attracted you to finance and consumer?
  2. How did Trail Post Ventures come together?
  3. I can imagine building out a track record is hard, and even with a track record that doesn’t mean you can fundraise. For folks that are looking to raise their own funds, what would you advise?
  4. Talk to me about the transition to Amberstone come together?
    1. What’s Amberstone’s thesis?
    2. What are some qualities in founders that you like to see?
  5. When you are evaluating opportunities, how do you think about optimizing profitability vs. growth and gross margin?
  6. How do you think about the differences between a trend and a fad?
  7. How do you think about habits? Since we’re living in COVID, it seems like people have become more comfortable buying physical goods online as it’s become the only way to. How are you thinking about ecommerce when things go (roughly) back to normal – stores reopen?
  8. What are consumer trends that you are most excited about?
  9. Is it harder to find conviction among founders since you are meeting with them remotely?
  10. I’ve had on Will McClelland, whose the MP at Elizabeth Street Ventures and he believes that if you want to build a consumer company or focus on consumer, New York is the place to do that, not San Francisco. What are your thoughts around some of the differences between NY and SF?
  11. Do you take a look at founders that are located in secondary and tertiary markets? If so, what’s some advice for them that are building venture backable businesses but aren’t in a big venture ecosystem?
  12. What’s one thing that you would change when it came to venture capital?
  13. What’s your most recent investment and what makes you excited about it?
  14. What’s one piece of advice for founders building consumer businesses?

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