I'd like to thank Adelle Archer for introducing me to today's guest Dan Graham, one of the co-founders and General partners of Springdale Ventures. Some of their investments include Eterneva, Literati, and Beatbox beverages. Previously, Dan co-founded BuildASign.com in 2005 and grew it to an over $100 million dollar CPG, Ecommerce business that was purchased by Cimpress (VistaPrint) in 2018 for $280M. This episode we talk all things Austin and CPG - the opportunity he saw to form Spingdale, why he didn't need to fundraise when building Buildasign.com and how he thinks about brand in relation to ecommerce and retail.
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A couple of books Dan recommends are Give and Take by Adam Grant and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.
Some of the questions I asked Dan -
- What attracted you to entrepreneurship and what was the opportunity that you saw when founding BuildaSign?
- Why did you choose not to fundraise for BuildaSign and bootstrap?
- Talk to me about what attracted you to investing?
- Why did you switch from being an angel investor to actually raising your own fund and building Springdale Ventures?
- What was the opportunity that you saw in Austin?
- What makes Austin so compelling as a startup hub? How is it different from New York and the bay area?
- Talk to me about your due diligence and decision making process and how do you establish conviction that the brands you invest in will break through the noise?
- Are there specific metrics that you pay most attention to?
- How do you judge brand authenticity?
- Growth marketing - organic vs. paid
- What are some qualities you like to see in founders?
- How do you think about first mover advantage when it comes to consumer brands?
- Has COVID changed how you invest?
- Have you shifted your focus from/to any particular verticals?
- What categories have been disrupted most?
- Are you spending more time with portfolio companies as opposed to making new investments?
- What are some consumer trends that you are paying attention to?
- What’s one thing that you would change when it came to venture capital?
- What’s one piece of advice for founders of B2C companies?