I’ve been a seed-stage angel investor since 2010, both personally and via an entity called capitalB, focused on helping early-stage companies in the consumer, marketplace, and “transformation by interface” space (which covers quite a few enterprise companies as well). I am a product design and consumer-behavior obsessive, following a career as an entrepreneur (Behance, 99U), executive (Adobe), and a quick stint as a traditional VC (Benchmark). Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to work with over 80 entrepreneurs and early stage teams at companies like Pinterest, Uber, Periscope, Flexport, Carta, sweetgreen, Cheddar, Airtable, Warby Parker, Ro, and many others in the early stages of their journey. I aspire to contribute as much as I learn from these remarkable teams.
I support mission-driven teams that value design, exceptional product experiences, and are solving a problem by connecting and empowering people.
Airtable, Amino, Anchor (acq), Assembled Brands, August (acq), Blink Health, Blissfully, Bowery Farms, Carta, Cheddar, Clay, Crayon, Crowdbotics, Collective Retreats, dydx, Earnest (acq), Feather, FiftyThree (acq), Flexport, Frida Baby, Fundera, HQ, TheHustle, HyperScience, Islands (ace), Italic, Lumi, MakeSpace, ManagedByQ (acq), MissionU (acq), Outdoor Voices, Paddle8 (acq), PartPic (acq), Periscope (acq), Pinterest, Primary Kids, Prefer, Radar Labs, Remix, Revue, Ro (aka Roman), SaySpring (acq), Sentieo, SkipTheDishes (acq), Superhuman, sweetgreen, Thrive Market, Uber, Warby Parker, and several others in the early stages.
Key areas I focus on with teams in my portfolio:
Product - specifically crafting the first mile, structuring a design-driven product team, blending copy and UX, optimizing the defaults, considering ego analytics, and other fun stuff.
Go-To-Market - determining the right beta audiences, iterating sales/growth initiatives, priming network effects, and building the right KPIs/analytics.
Narrative - positioning is as important for the team’s perspective of their own product as it is for external marketing. A product’s story matters.
Building Teams - helping build teams (most often on the design, engineering, and business development fronts). I admire teams that value initiative over experience. I also enjoy the challenge of scaling operations without compromising what differentiates a business and culture. After all, the science of business is the things that scale, the art of business is the things that don’t. I help teams find their way through THE MESSY MIDDLE.
Execution - helping leaders develop (and destroy) process to foster a culture with a bias-towards-action. Much of success simply boils down to capturing everything actionable and executing (and the years I spent researching MAKING IDEAS HAPPEN made this abundantly clear).
I have an affinity for teams that aren't set on defying a likely outcome, but rather want to make it happen in a better way. The best teams I come across are parlaying forces already underway to their favor. They are remarkably imaginative yet grounded by the present. They are driven by empathy for those suffering the problem rather than passion for one particular solution. They are optimistic about the future but pessimistic enough about execution. And they are never ever satisfied with the current state of their product.