Thank you Sunny Dhillon for the introduction to today's guest, Deborah Benton. Deb is the founder and general partner of Willow Growth Partners. Willow provides early growth capital to entrepreneurs building the next generation of transformative consumer brands and the disruptive technologies that power them. Prior to launching her fund, Deborah held many senior operational positions in companies like Nasty Gal, Shoe Dazzle and eToys. We discuss what investors don't get about investing in consumer brands, lessons learned working for established and aspiring brands and her approach to trends.
The Consumer VC Summit: February 23-25
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A couple books that inspired Deborah -
Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Some of the questions I ask Deb:
- I'd love to first start with your career. What was your initial attraction to work in retail and consumer products?
- You've witnessed companies raise lots of money and have lots of momentum and then not be able to become profitable or reach their goals and end up falling apart. What were some of the learnings from these experiences?
- What attracted you to the world of investing and how did you make decisions as an angel investor?
- When it comes to consumer products in 2020 where you no longer can scale efficiently like you could of 10 years ago, what is the key?
- You're currently closing your first fund, what attracted you to shift to become a VC from being an angel investor?
- What are current retail trends that you are focused on?
- We've seen large corporations finally wake up to ecommerce during COVID. Do you think, even though ecommerce penetration has increased substantially this year, it's more competitive than it was pre-COVID?
- What's one thing that you would change when it comes to venture capital?
- What's the best piece of advice that you've received?