Thank you Joe Tonnos for the introduction to today's guest, Michael Nogen, one of the founding partners of Overton VC. Overton Venture Capital invests in early stage companies (Pre Series A) who demonstrate early success through revenue and market validation. Some of their portfolio includes Perch, Stantt and Joy Lux. Previously, he founded Theality, which became a national maternity apparel manufacturer and distributor carried by over 200 retailers and led global strategy at Gap and headed finance and strategy at 1800Flowers.com.
A few books that inspired Michael:
Good to Great by Jim Collins
The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin
No Rules Rules by Reid Hastings
Questions I ask Michael:
- What was your initial attraction to entrepreneurship, and founding Theality?
- You then went into consulting and then working in senior positions at Gap and 1800 Flowers. What were some of the learnings working at legacy brands?
- How did Overton come together?
- During the summit, one of the focuses was why have corporations at times struggle to innovate, which lead to acquiring challenging brands. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this since you worked for established corporate brands, but also was a successful founder.
- Walk me through your due diligence process -
- When you evaluate early stage businesses, what are some of the most important elements of either the founder or the business to get you interested?
- Has it been hard establishing conviction amongst founders since you have to meet with them remotely during COVID?
- What I find really interesting about your portfolio at Overton is you invest in both software / b2b2c businesses as well as consumer brands. Many software investors have felt consumer brands aren't venture backable. I was curious since you invest in a wide range of businesses and business models, how you think about porfolio construction and the return profile on each business?
- What are current trends that you are focused on?
- Has COVID changed your point of view on any specific trends?
- What's one thing that you would change when it came to venture capital?