Lee Hower (NextView Ventures) – Making Good Decisions Fast, Going With Your Gut and Why Trust at the Early Stages Is Vital

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Lee Hower is the Co-Founder and Partner of NextView Ventures. NextView is a high-conviction hands on seed-stage VC firm that invests in founders who are redesigning the everyday economy. Some of their investments include Grove Collaborative, Skillz, Plastiq, Attentive, LetGo and TapCommerce. Previously, Lee was an early employee at Paypal and served as the Director of Financial Services. He then went on to co-found LinkedIn and serve as a Principal and Venture Partner at PJC.

Thank you Gautam Gupta for introducing me to Lee!

One of Lee’s blog posts that we discuss on the show is Denouement. All of Lee’s and NextView’s blog posts are available here.

One book that inspired Lee professionally is Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. One book that inspired Lee personally is Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordoff

If you would like to keep up to date with Lee, you can follow him on Twitter @leehower. To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

In this episode you will learn –

  1. What attracted Lee to work in technology and what was it like working with the Paypal Mafia? What were some of the learnings from those moments and what led him to co-founding LinkedIn? Is operational experience important to an investor?
  2. What are some of the qualities in a founder that he focuses on and look for? His due diligence process? How does he think about portfolio construction at the seed level? What are data points when it comes to consumer companies that you most focus on in the early stages? What he means by the everyday economy? How he thinks about today’s venture capital era and why he refers to it as the denouement era? 
  3. How does he think about the future of venture capital in the new decade? What are some consumer trends that he is most excited about?
  4. What is one thing that he would change when it came to venture capital? What is his most recent investment and what makes you excited about it? What’s one piece of advice for early stage B2C founders?

Bonus: Matt Hirst (West): Brand and Marketing – What is Brand?, How to Hire at the Early Stages, and Trusting Your Gut vs. Data Driven

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Matt Hirst is the Managing Partner at West. West is a venture studio, a team of market and brand experts with investor discipline. Since 2011, West has partnered with some of the world’s most innovative companies and founders to maximize their opportunity and make impact including Impossible Burger, GofundMe, Square and Twitter.

Matt joined West 4 years ago after serving as the Global Head of Brand Experience at Google. Prior to Google, Matt spent 10 yrs at Red Bull as head of Sports, Events and Culture and the Director of Culture Marketing.

One book that inspired Matt personally and professionally is Alchemy by Rory Sutherland.

In this episode you will learn –

  1. Some of the differences working for Red Bull vs. Google. How he thinks about the differences between brand strategy vs. growth marketing. How he thinks about data vs. trusting your gut when it comes to brand and marketing? What are questions founders should ask when building a brand identity? The differences in skill set that founders should be aware of if they are hiring a brand management professional from a large company vs. someone with startup experience to join their team?
  2. When an entrepreneur is thinking about brand for his or her startup, the types of questions should they be asking themselves? Why does he feel that brand is still undervalued asset? Why is building a brand the most expensive assets you can build and the hardest? How he thinks about the brand agency ecosystem and if a startup is looking to hire an agency, what are some questions should they be asking?
  3. Is this best time or worst time to build a CPG Brand? His due diligence process at West. One thing he would change when it came to the perception of brand? One piece of advice for founders when it comes to brand?

To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

Elizabeth Yin (Hustle Fund) – Investing When There’s No Traction and How To Mitigate Risk When Founding

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Elizabeth Yin is a co-founder and General Partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for software entrepreneurs. One of Hustle Fund’s missions is to level the playing field in the world of venture-backed businesses by investing in non-Stanford and non-Ivy League founders.

Previously, Elizabeth was a partner at 500 Startups where she invested in seed stage companies and ran the Mountain View accelerator. Elizabeth also co-founded and ran an adtech company called LaunchBit (acq 2014). Her work and writing on startup fundraising have been featured in numerous publications including TechCrunch, Forbes, Huffington Post, BetaKit, and more.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Elizabeth, you can @dunkhippo33 and subscribe to her insightful blog posts at www.elizabethyin.com. To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

One book that inspired Elizabeth personally is Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. One book that inspired Elizabeth professionally is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

In this episode you will learn – 

  1. What compelled Elizabeth to start LaunchBit and what attracted her to startups in general? Why did she switch to become an investor? What were some of the learnings from being a founder that influenced her as an investor? What compelled her and Eric to leave 500 startups and start Hustle Fund? Advice for founders that didn’t go to Stanford or Ivy League schools? Advice for founders that live in secondary and tertiary markets?
  2. What are some of the differences in her diligence process when investing in consumer vs enterprise? What is her own due diligence process? What are her expectations for companies at pre-seed? What are some qualities she likes to see founders have?
  3. What are the ideal traits of an investor for startups? What are some consumer trends that she is excited about? What is one thing that she would change when it came to venture capital? What is your most recent consumer investment and what makes her excited about it? What is one company she had the opportunity to invest, didn’t, and in retrospect wish she did? What is one piece of advice she has for founders of consumer companies?

Jason Shuman (Primary Ventures) – Payback Period, Market Timing, and The Importance of Distribution

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Jason Shuman is a Principal at Primary Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm responsible for backing NYC’s most promising founders. Some of their investments include Ticketfly, Jet, Deliveroo, and Package Free.

Jason has been working in New York as a VC for the past four years.  In college, Jason launched a direct-to-consumer footwear company that sold hand-sewn boat shoes and driving moccasins. He later went on to work at New York-based seed fund Corigin Ventures, where he invested in several companies including Latch, Loftsmart and Morty.

Thank you Sumeet Shah for the intro.

One book that inspired Jason personally is Attached by Amir Levine. One book that inspired Jason professionally is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Jason, you can follow him on Twitter @boatshuman. To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

In this episode you will learn – 

  1. What attracted him to start his own footwear company and become an entrepreneur? What were some of the learnings from that experience? How does he think about market timing? What attracted him to switch from being a founder to venture capital and working on the other side of the table? What makes seed investing as a stage so interesting to him? What attracted him to consumer?
  2. What are his own KPIs for founders that are looking to fundraise a seed round? What are some qualities in founders that you look for? What is his own due diligence process? What metrics does he focus on and how has his evaluation changed the past few years What should the diligence process be for an early hire? How does he think about growth – organic vs. paid. Why does Primary Ventures only invest in New York Companies? What is some advice for founders that live in secondary and tertiary markets? What are changes in consumer behavior or consumer trends that he is most excited and focused on and looking at investment opportunities? What is something that he would change when it came to venture capital?
  3. What is one company that he had the opportunity to invest in, didn’t, and in retrospect wish he did? What is one piece of advice that he has for founders of consumer companies?

Kate Boyle (Banjo Robinson) – Expanding Into Different Countries, Her Unfair Advantage, and Storytelling

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Kate Boyle is the founder and CEO of Banjo Robinson. Banjo Robinson is a magical cat that writes personalised letters which turn reading, writing and learning about the world into a magical game for 5-8 year olds. Banjo Robinson graduated London Techstars Accelerator fall 2019 and recently raised a pre-seed round led by Collaborative Fund and Sesame Ventures. Previously, Kate worked at William Morris and in screenwriting and script development.

Thank you Eamonn Carey for the introduction!

You can follow Banjo on his journey @banjo_robinson_. To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

A book that inspired Kate personally and professionally, is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. A book that also inspired her professionally is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

In this episode you will learn – 

  1. Why Kate founded Banjo Robinson? What makes her uniquely qualified and her super powers? What are her areas of weakness and how does she think about hiring? A glimpse of being in the Techstars accelerator. How did she approach the fundraising process? 
  2. What was your due diligence process when evaluating venture capital firms? How did she think about expanding Banjo Robinson geographically? What were some of the initial target markets and what is the customer acquisition strategy?
  3. What is one piece of advice that she has for other founders?

Gautam Gupta (M13) – The Thin Line Between Success and Failure, Board Construction, and Why He Offers Learnings, Not Advice

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcast App

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Gautam Gupta is a Partner at M13 and founded and previously was the CEO of Naturebox

M13 is a venture fund headquartered in Los Angeles that has invested in some of the most innovative consumer companies like Pinterst, SnapChat, Lyft, Bird, and Ring.

Naturebox, a subscription online delivery service that home-delivers all-natural snack foods. Before that, he started his career as an early stage investor at General Catalyst when he was just 18.

If you would like to keep up to date on Gautam, you can follow him @gramblings.To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

A book that inspired Gautam professionally is The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike. A book that inspired Gautam personally is Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight.

In this episode you will learn – 

  1. When did he know that he wanted to be an entrepreneur? What got him into Venture Capital? What made you want to leave venture capital to found NatureBox?
  2. I think you’re the first guest I’ve had on this show that started his or her career in VC, then became a founder/CEO then came back to VC. The learnings and takeaways when he founded his own company that impacted him as an investor? Why he decided to join M13? What’s his advice for founders that live in secondary and tertiary markets that are outside LA, SF and NYC? How should founders think about board construction for their companies? What are changes in consumer behavior that he is focused on? What’s one thing he would change when it came to venture capital?
  3. What is his most recent investment and what makes him excited about it? One company that he had the opportunity to invest in, didn’t and in retrospect wish he did?
  4. What is one learning that was impactful and could be helpful for founders of venture backable B2C consumer companies?

Tim Katt (TACK Ventures) – How Tech is Disrupting Sports, Media and Advice for Founders in Secondary Markets

Click Here to Listen on Browser

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Google Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

Tim Katt is the managing partner and co-founder of TACK Ventures, TACK Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm based in Brooklyn and focused on investing in game-changers across sports, media, lifestyle and entertainment. Some of their investments include Overtime, ShotTracker, Roam, Greenfly and Grasshopper Bank.

Tim also Co-Founded the Global Sports Venture Studio (“GSVS”) with R/GA Ventures and the Los Angeles Dodgers. As Managing Director of the GSVS, Tim advised executives at leading organizations in the sports industry including adidas, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fox Sports, Levy Restaurants, MLB, MLS, the NHL, Octagon and UEFA, on corporate innovation and venture investment.

One book that inspired Tim personally and professionally is Principles by Ray Dalio.

Tim also recently started a podcast called The Game Plan, where he and Jay Kapoor interview current and former professional athletes about theoretically business interests off the field. If you’d like to keep tabs on Tim, you can follow him on Twitter @tim_katt. To follow along behind the scenes of the show, you can follow @mikegelb and @consumervc.

Thank you Jay Kapoor for introducing me to Tim.

In this episode you will learn – 

  1. What attracted Tim to venture capital from a career in media? The uniqueness of TACK and typical check size? What makes New York unique? The Rise of Venture Capital in Sport. Tim’s diligence process. How he thinks about the landscape of the media industry changing from advertising model to a subscription model? How he’s thinking about media and ecommerce converging?
  2. Qualities he likes to see in founders during your evaluation process? For consumer companies, how do you know when you’ve found product-market fit? Consumer trends Tim’s focused on. How he thinks about investing in today’s landscape with the abundance of capital that is currently in the ecosystem? What is something that he would change when it came to venture capital?
  3. What’s one company that he had the opportunity to invest in, didn’t, and in retrospect wish he did? What is his most recent (announced) investment and why are he excited about it? What is one piece of advice for founders of consumer companies?