Aug. 2, 2022

Mike Asem (M25) - Why the midwest the perfect place to launch and invest in consumer startups, diversity report insights and creating a VC board game

Mike Asem (M25) - Why the midwest the perfect place to launch and invest in consumer startups, diversity report insights and creating a VC board game

Our guest today is Mike Asem, General Partner of M25. M25 is an early-stage venture firm based in Chicago, investing solely in companies headquartered in the Midwest. We discuss what movie got intrigued by venture capital, what’s misunderstood about investing in the midwest and the consumer landscape in that region, and his learnings since publishing M25 diversity report. Without further ado, here’s Mike

  1. What was your attraction to entrepreneurship and venture capital?
  2. How did you found M25? What’s your thesis?
    1. Was in the nano space
    2. Purdue research foundation
    3. Worked with portfolio companies
    4. Angel portfolio
    5. Established yourself as a former
  3. Many tech VCs have steered clear from investing in consumer brands. Why do you still think there’s an opportunity?
  4. What makes a consumer brand interesting to you?
  5. How do you approach looking at consumer trends and trying to understand consumer behavior?
  6. We talk about brands that are venture-backed have to appeal to the masses and not just the top 1%. How do you measure that when you’re in due diligence?
    1. If it plays in Peoria
  7. Lori Coulter - Summersalt
  8. M25 releases a diversity report. Can you explain the origins of how this began and what it includes?
  9. What’s your outlook as well for Chicago as a venture ecosystem and the midwest?
  10. What’s your thesis around consumer healthcare?
  11. Why did you decide to create Unicorn to the Moon?
  12. What’s one thing you would change about venture capital?
  13. What’s one book that’s inspired you personally and one book that’s inspired you professionally?
    1. Eboys - Benchmarks early days
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:02.399 --> 00:00:16.559 Oh, hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, 2 00:00:16.600 --> 00:00:20.079 Michael, and on this show we talked about the world of venture capital and 3 00:00:20.239 --> 00:00:25.160 innovation in both consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, 4 00:00:25.239 --> 00:00:29.920 you could subscribe to my newsletter, the consumer VC DOT sub stack dot com, 5 00:00:29.960 --> 00:00:33.640 to get each new episode and more consumer news delivered straight to your inbox. 6 00:00:34.079 --> 00:00:39.359 Our guest today is Mike Awesome, general partner of M M is, 7 00:00:39.399 --> 00:00:44.960 an early stage venture capital fund based in Chicago investing solely in companies headquartered in 8 00:00:44.960 --> 00:00:50.000 the Midwest. We started our conversation discussing what movie got him intrigued by venture 9 00:00:50.039 --> 00:00:54.840 capital, what's misunderstood about investment in Midwest and the consumer landscape in the region, 10 00:00:55.200 --> 00:01:00.439 his learning since publishing m twenty five diversity report and how he thinks about 11 00:01:00.479 --> 00:01:11.879 making venture capital a lot more inclusive. Without further ADO, here's my Mike. 12 00:01:11.040 --> 00:01:14.519 Thank you so much for joining me today. How are you? I'm 13 00:01:14.560 --> 00:01:17.319 great. Thanks for having me, Mike. Thanks so much for being here. 14 00:01:17.439 --> 00:01:19.719 So I want to start from the beginning. What was your initial attraction 15 00:01:19.799 --> 00:01:25.560 to entrepreneurship and how did you get involved in venture capital? Yeah, great 16 00:01:25.599 --> 00:01:29.599 question. I mean I think, I think there's probably something always inherently about 17 00:01:29.640 --> 00:01:34.079 me that was interested in entrepreneurship. I think back to like grade school days. 18 00:01:34.120 --> 00:01:37.560 I was making like jewelry out of beads and selling them my classmates. 19 00:01:38.000 --> 00:01:42.319 I was actually at one point in elementary school. I realized now that what 20 00:01:42.359 --> 00:01:45.040 I've done is I'd raised a fund of the neighborhood kids. My pitch was 21 00:01:45.120 --> 00:01:48.000 like Hey, like our allowance doesn't stack up too much, but hey, 22 00:01:48.040 --> 00:01:51.159 if we pull it together, and I pulled together. It was given to 23 00:01:51.159 --> 00:01:55.439 me and I'll bury my backyard under the slide and the parents found out and 24 00:01:55.480 --> 00:01:57.120 that did not last for a long but one way of saying I think I've 25 00:01:57.159 --> 00:02:02.439 always been interested in entrepreneurship, or I guess finance, if that's how you 26 00:02:02.439 --> 00:02:06.560 want to think about it. And but projecting forward to my guilt life, 27 00:02:06.599 --> 00:02:09.439 there's actually the movie wedding crashers that introduced me to venture capital. I don't 28 00:02:09.439 --> 00:02:14.560 know if remember that scene, but like those guys are trying to con their 29 00:02:14.599 --> 00:02:19.360 way into some politicians family and the con they're playing is their vcs that invested 30 00:02:19.400 --> 00:02:24.520 in Maple Syrup and uh, it was totally hilarious, but it definitely something 31 00:02:24.520 --> 00:02:29.159 clicked in my brain at that moment like what is venture capital? And sounds 32 00:02:29.159 --> 00:02:31.840 real, sounds sounds pretty cool. The other part of your question was how 33 00:02:31.879 --> 00:02:36.879 did I get into venture capital, and that more in my college days, 34 00:02:37.000 --> 00:02:39.879 I went to Pretty University, actually study study of Liberal Arts at Pretty, 35 00:02:39.879 --> 00:02:45.360 which prices there's a lot of people could produce really renowned for its sound degrees 36 00:02:45.479 --> 00:02:49.719 and talent, and rightfully so. But I had an interest and I knew 37 00:02:49.719 --> 00:02:52.960 I was interested in business, but it was really more interested on, frankly, 38 00:02:53.000 --> 00:02:59.120 how did companies build almost like interpersonal level relationships with their customers? And 39 00:02:59.199 --> 00:03:02.479 so, Um, I made you in something called Public Relations and rhetorical advocacy, 40 00:03:02.599 --> 00:03:06.639 which they no longer offer because most people don't know what it means. 41 00:03:06.919 --> 00:03:09.840 But for me it was trying to a curriculum that kind of made understood stand 42 00:03:09.879 --> 00:03:14.240 why, you know, apple and IOS had such a hold over people and 43 00:03:14.800 --> 00:03:17.800 blue text versus green text was almost a war you wanted to fight, more 44 00:03:17.840 --> 00:03:21.319 than one for your family member. And so, while I was up for 45 00:03:21.400 --> 00:03:23.879 you, I started an incubator called the anvil. That was the largest student 46 00:03:23.919 --> 00:03:29.439 run incubator in the country at the time. I left and uh the anvils 47 00:03:29.680 --> 00:03:32.759 to this date has launched the first PREDU company to Middle Light combinator and several 48 00:03:32.800 --> 00:03:38.560 companies raised venture capital and even have meaningful large acquisitions. So that's really how 49 00:03:38.639 --> 00:03:42.000 I kind of entered into VC. was really through kind of the operator O 50 00:03:42.080 --> 00:03:46.520 pretty support incubation side, and then in we launched twenty five with my partner, 51 00:03:46.599 --> 00:03:50.960 Victor. That's awesome. That's that. That's amazing. How did you 52 00:03:51.080 --> 00:03:54.240 lead to found M and how did you think about, you know, your 53 00:03:54.280 --> 00:03:59.199 thesis? Obviously on the Apple Front, like it's a very consumer obviously a 54 00:03:59.199 --> 00:04:03.319 consumer company, but were you also just thinking innovation just generally, both on 55 00:04:03.479 --> 00:04:09.439 the BBC side and B Two b, or whether particular areas that really attracted 56 00:04:09.439 --> 00:04:13.840 you within software? How are you thinking about where you wanted to spend your 57 00:04:13.840 --> 00:04:16.120 time as well? Yeah, totally so. Yeah. So after the envial 58 00:04:16.319 --> 00:04:21.399 Um I actually worked at a startup in the nanotech space, which is incredibly 59 00:04:21.439 --> 00:04:25.360 ironic because, like I said, my degrees in liberal arts and my first 60 00:04:25.399 --> 00:04:29.519 year to Undergrad I was assembling anty Micron Thick supercapacitors in a buy a clean 61 00:04:29.639 --> 00:04:32.439 room. They're gonna hum here, right, and so that was super interesting. 62 00:04:32.759 --> 00:04:38.519 And after that company, the Pretty Research Foundation hired me as a director 63 00:04:38.560 --> 00:04:43.399 to really do primarily one of two things. The apes of my time was 64 00:04:43.399 --> 00:04:46.360 working with portfolio companies of the university and, through kind of the pretty nexus, 65 00:04:46.360 --> 00:04:50.160 helping them find the suite talent, raised capital, negotiate partnerships, et 66 00:04:50.199 --> 00:04:54.399 Cetera. And about twenty in my time was helping to market on licensed electric 67 00:04:54.439 --> 00:04:57.879 property coming out of the research yet for do and so Um. When I 68 00:04:57.920 --> 00:05:00.959 met my partner, victors, actually through a due eligence purpose, he had 69 00:05:00.000 --> 00:05:03.199 started to put together kind of an angel portfolio, would call it, call 70 00:05:03.279 --> 00:05:06.759 it fund zero Um if you will, for what became them twenty five with 71 00:05:06.839 --> 00:05:10.959 this thesis round, investing in the midwestern tech companies and I had at this 72 00:05:11.000 --> 00:05:15.680 point established myself as a either formal or informal advisor to a significantand of companies, 73 00:05:15.720 --> 00:05:18.319 particularly in Indiana, but even outside of Indiana, and really we kind 74 00:05:18.319 --> 00:05:21.439 of hit it off. Once we've got to know each other about specific companies. 75 00:05:21.480 --> 00:05:25.360 We both got a lot of energy around but also this thesis, around 76 00:05:25.519 --> 00:05:29.319 the Midwest as a region and the opportunity has and really the thesis by and 77 00:05:29.360 --> 00:05:31.439 that, I think, largely it comes to what we saw is kind of 78 00:05:31.439 --> 00:05:35.480 a probably an opportunity for the region, the Midwest region. From an economy 79 00:05:35.519 --> 00:05:39.759 standpoint, it's is massive, is huge. Like Illinois alone has like, 80 00:05:40.160 --> 00:05:43.519 I think, thirty something working back ounder companies. But if you've taken the 81 00:05:43.560 --> 00:05:47.480 whole region, it's a significant economy. Where it's lacking and where this I 82 00:05:47.519 --> 00:05:51.639 think, challenge has opportunity comes has been historically more in this kind of density 83 00:05:51.839 --> 00:05:55.120 of the region. So if you like try to compare the Midwest to the 84 00:05:55.120 --> 00:05:59.000 bay area, for example, it's like confusing first of all and secondly just 85 00:05:59.040 --> 00:06:02.199 doesn't make as much sun because from from a density perspective, right you're going 86 00:06:02.240 --> 00:06:06.240 from Pale Alto to mountain view or you're going from Minneapolis to Kansas City and 87 00:06:06.279 --> 00:06:10.639 trying to connect those dots and make that system work and the synergies working. 88 00:06:10.720 --> 00:06:13.959 So we really believe that if we're able to sit at the center of that 89 00:06:14.199 --> 00:06:16.920 and be sort of a conduit within the region, as well as coastal partners 90 00:06:16.920 --> 00:06:20.160 coming into the region, Um, we could really help create some sort of 91 00:06:20.240 --> 00:06:24.879 virtual density type infrastructure and, you know, in a world where you can 92 00:06:24.879 --> 00:06:29.279 build a company anywhere, really help trying to light on some really promising talent 93 00:06:29.439 --> 00:06:32.360 on an entrepreneurs in the middlewest region where we have our kind of local advantage. 94 00:06:32.759 --> 00:06:38.879 What do you mean by virtual density? It reminds me, just as 95 00:06:38.879 --> 00:06:41.600 you think about, you know, concentration. And this, course, is 96 00:06:41.639 --> 00:06:45.000 all pre covid. COVID has changed a lot of things, I'd imagine, 97 00:06:45.000 --> 00:06:46.199 when it comes to this. But what I would have on investor of the 98 00:06:46.240 --> 00:06:49.639 show pre COVID, they would say it's fine, that are, you know, 99 00:06:49.800 --> 00:06:53.600 software oriented ones, not so much, you know, on the consumer 100 00:06:53.600 --> 00:06:57.240 product side of things. But like the software oriented ones would say it's fine 101 00:06:57.319 --> 00:07:01.120 to start a company anywhere, but when it comes to talent and you know 102 00:07:01.319 --> 00:07:04.800 you actually need to scale and engineers, there has to be some type of 103 00:07:04.800 --> 00:07:09.879 plan to relocate to, you know, a San Francisco or maybe even in 104 00:07:09.879 --> 00:07:13.079 New York, where you have a lot more engineers, there's a lot more 105 00:07:13.199 --> 00:07:16.600 identity engineers, or open up like a second location in one of those two 106 00:07:16.600 --> 00:07:19.000 cities. How do you think about, you know, when you think about 107 00:07:19.040 --> 00:07:24.079 m maybe the opportunity in the Midwest side and as well pre covid as you 108 00:07:24.279 --> 00:07:27.639 because since obviously it's hard to your fund well, before Covid was we all 109 00:07:27.720 --> 00:07:30.279 knew what what covid was. But then also how how that changes. Well, 110 00:07:30.480 --> 00:07:33.920 during covid when you think about this virtual identity question, if you call 111 00:07:33.959 --> 00:07:36.040 out on some of the reasons why, I think people have called out, 112 00:07:36.279 --> 00:07:40.920 call it baby area as a as a final place to build a tech company. 113 00:07:41.040 --> 00:07:44.120 Right, there's a lot of like kind of institutional knowledge. Right, 114 00:07:44.120 --> 00:07:46.079 there's a lot of you know, you can kind of throw a rock and 115 00:07:46.199 --> 00:07:49.199 hit three different petropacked entrepreneurs. You can. There's a lot of talent working 116 00:07:49.240 --> 00:07:53.480 at these companies, right. And so I think when I think of virtual 117 00:07:53.519 --> 00:07:57.000 density, we think about like well, okay, so that's not true in 118 00:07:57.040 --> 00:08:01.879 Toledo. That's not true and Columbus. That's not true as true in Minneapolis 119 00:08:01.920 --> 00:08:05.480 or even as true in Chicago. Right, but if you're able to kind 120 00:08:05.480 --> 00:08:07.920 of create that infrastructure. One example of how we've done it is through our 121 00:08:07.959 --> 00:08:13.439 own kind of portfolio network, through our companies, right, where we're practically 122 00:08:13.519 --> 00:08:16.920 connecting. You know, now there is over a hundred and eighty venture backed 123 00:08:16.920 --> 00:08:20.040 founders right that are easily able to touch each other, where they're not limited 124 00:08:20.079 --> 00:08:24.480 to kind of their local regions as much as they were, but more have 125 00:08:24.600 --> 00:08:28.839 access to this founder network where, Um, there's not just the commonality that 126 00:08:28.839 --> 00:08:31.839 their founders but they have. They know they're non competitive because they're on our 127 00:08:31.839 --> 00:08:35.720 portfolio and they know that they're all venture backed and, at least some point 128 00:08:35.720 --> 00:08:39.759 on the same journey Um. If you think about like talent or our customers, 129 00:08:39.799 --> 00:08:43.360 the same same thing. Like for our summit, we do once here 130 00:08:43.399 --> 00:08:46.679 in Chicago. We're bringing hundreds of vcs to Chicago Um and dozens of our 131 00:08:46.679 --> 00:08:50.679 portfolio companies. At one point was twice a year. Now it's once a 132 00:08:50.759 --> 00:08:54.159 year, but we've replaced that second with a virtual version of Eva to create 133 00:08:54.200 --> 00:08:58.240 kind of this fly wheel of conversations and potentional network that creates some of this 134 00:08:58.320 --> 00:09:01.360 density. And then, similarly, we have more of like online versions, 135 00:09:01.399 --> 00:09:05.639 like Middle startups dot com, which we use to elevate voices thought leadership, 136 00:09:05.840 --> 00:09:09.000 showcase companies and, more interestingly, on the talent side, we have a 137 00:09:09.039 --> 00:09:15.320 talent repository where anyone with experience or interested in working with a venture backed Startup 138 00:09:15.320 --> 00:09:18.200 Company headquartered broadly in the middlest region, whether they're here now would be willing 139 00:09:18.200 --> 00:09:24.080 to relocate to the middlewest. Um can create a single profile that our portfolio 140 00:09:24.120 --> 00:09:28.519 companies can get exposed to and vice versa for openings in the region. And 141 00:09:28.840 --> 00:09:33.279 you know, we're talking about a growing proprietary repository of talent. That I 142 00:09:33.320 --> 00:09:35.960 think helps kind of with that density question. So when I talk about virtual 143 00:09:35.960 --> 00:09:37.720 density, it's based some pieces, I think, of trying to solve some 144 00:09:37.799 --> 00:09:41.399 of these points around talent, access to capital and access to that kind of 145 00:09:41.399 --> 00:09:46.399 institutional knowledge as well from like founder communities. What has been your learning since, 146 00:09:46.440 --> 00:09:48.559 since it seems like this has also been like a pretty big grassroots initiative 147 00:09:48.600 --> 00:09:52.320 you've had to build from scratch, since the Midwest is still maybe like more 148 00:09:52.360 --> 00:09:56.399 of like a developing region compared to the bay area, which is more maybe 149 00:09:56.399 --> 00:09:58.879 blue chap yeah, no, I mean I think that and I think some 150 00:09:58.960 --> 00:10:01.919 important context to right. It is like not necessary to like try to make 151 00:10:01.960 --> 00:10:05.200 the midwest the next Silicon Valley or try to, you know, say that 152 00:10:05.279 --> 00:10:09.879 the middlewest is competing with the Silicon Valley. It's more about understanding what was, 153 00:10:09.039 --> 00:10:13.159 what's been a gap historically and what therefore becomes an opportunity. We believe 154 00:10:13.200 --> 00:10:18.960 for a region that Um is under capitalized to the point that of the opportunity 155 00:10:18.960 --> 00:10:22.519 that is here. I think as far as the learnings go, I mean 156 00:10:22.840 --> 00:10:26.679 first I think it's it's interesting to see how much talent is here and how 157 00:10:26.679 --> 00:10:30.759 many people are interested in building companies in the Midwest. Um, the evolution 158 00:10:30.919 --> 00:10:35.000 of the middlewest region is is interesting to watch. Chicago a loan, I 159 00:10:35.000 --> 00:10:37.039 think, goes over ten UNICORNS last year and if you think about where the 160 00:10:37.039 --> 00:10:41.080 Midwest, the Midwest as a region was ten years ago, ten UNICORNS across 161 00:10:41.120 --> 00:10:45.759 the region probably would have been a massive story. Right. So this piece 162 00:10:45.799 --> 00:10:50.720 around not just like this infrastructure that is one of probably several firms and crews 163 00:10:50.720 --> 00:10:56.879 trying to solve, but also this increase of maturity within the region, development 164 00:10:56.879 --> 00:11:00.960 within the region or or having to coach people less less about the reality is 165 00:11:01.000 --> 00:11:03.840 of what it means to be a venture backed business and how to actually build 166 00:11:03.840 --> 00:11:07.559 an interred company than, you know, investors like us would have been five 167 00:11:07.840 --> 00:11:09.639 years ago. So I think there's, you know, a promising story around 168 00:11:09.639 --> 00:11:13.600 the developing the development of the region and its entrepreneurs and the talent here. 169 00:11:15.000 --> 00:11:20.480 What we saw in during covid and now, quote unquote, post covid is 170 00:11:20.519 --> 00:11:24.960 the response from our coastal peer is really recognizing the opportunity here in a way 171 00:11:24.000 --> 00:11:28.279 that was really I think, just accelerating an existing trend because of the virtual 172 00:11:28.360 --> 00:11:33.080 environment we were in. I love to kind of more better understand a bit 173 00:11:33.120 --> 00:11:39.000 about your strategy and why you're, you know, bullish about consumer yeah, 174 00:11:39.120 --> 00:11:41.559 no, I think it's a great question and yeah, I would I would 175 00:11:41.639 --> 00:11:46.120 agree. I would say that there's definitely been a broad softening from consumer brands 176 00:11:46.759 --> 00:11:52.440 amongst venture and I think you probably rightfully so, especially given how some of 177 00:11:52.480 --> 00:11:56.039 these brands were priced and valued and capitalized in the late stages and, you 178 00:11:56.080 --> 00:11:58.440 know, in twenty five as well. I would I would be remissuaded, 179 00:11:58.440 --> 00:12:03.559 and you know, say that our view on consumer broadly Um are are are 180 00:12:03.679 --> 00:12:07.840 likely next cohort of consumer companies is probably going to be more e commerce infrastructure 181 00:12:07.159 --> 00:12:13.440 marketplaces like consumer brands. May We we're probably a bit software there as well. 182 00:12:13.480 --> 00:12:18.919 But that said, I mean we are still looking and investing and I 183 00:12:18.960 --> 00:12:20.480 think for us, like like many investors, we just kind of know the 184 00:12:22.000 --> 00:12:26.120 adage and the reality that insurance thinking often leads to the best return potential land 185 00:12:26.440 --> 00:12:31.279 where others are afraid to invest. It's it can lead to really get our 186 00:12:31.279 --> 00:12:35.639 O I I think another thing I'd point out specifically, for for us and 187 00:12:35.679 --> 00:12:39.200 think about consumer brands is the stage and entry point at which we invest. 188 00:12:39.519 --> 00:12:43.519 We have, in frankly, like valuation discipline, like we've always historically been 189 00:12:43.639 --> 00:12:46.759 very um, you know, not overly evaluation strict, but like evaluation sensitive, 190 00:12:46.799 --> 00:12:50.799 valuation discipline. In a world, especially in the last year or two, 191 00:12:50.840 --> 00:12:52.639 where I think a lot of investors would say, for preseutor seed, 192 00:12:52.759 --> 00:12:58.120 that it's not really worth negotiating anything under than a ten million dollar evaluation. 193 00:12:58.639 --> 00:13:01.759 The reality is that can be quite different the outcome. If, if it's 194 00:13:01.799 --> 00:13:03.639 a, you know, a few million dollars, difference in valuation can lead 195 00:13:03.639 --> 00:13:07.440 to uh, two or three x difference in what what? Ten X would 196 00:13:07.399 --> 00:13:11.840 be a thirty x writer are three x could be ten x right. So 197 00:13:11.159 --> 00:13:16.360 I think part of that understanding that we're super early. We're not trying to 198 00:13:16.519 --> 00:13:20.399 price CPG or consumer brands in the same way we're looking to value B two 199 00:13:20.399 --> 00:13:24.480 B SAS businesses. Um and and our consistence and kind of how we try 200 00:13:24.519 --> 00:13:28.799 to value these things appropriately. Um, these are all important and how how 201 00:13:28.840 --> 00:13:33.440 we've how we've looked at it. What are kind of your checklists or what 202 00:13:33.600 --> 00:13:37.840 makes a consumer brand interesting to you? Yeah, I mean I think Um, 203 00:13:37.879 --> 00:13:39.639 you know, first and foremost of the founders have to be phenomenal storytellers, 204 00:13:39.919 --> 00:13:45.320 regardless of the type of investment or consumer would be to be that founders 205 00:13:45.320 --> 00:13:48.039 are paramount. But in this case especially, like founders need to be phenomenal 206 00:13:48.039 --> 00:13:52.320 storytellers because this is going to translate across like their ability to build a brand 207 00:13:52.360 --> 00:13:54.000 and like have that kind of you know, Gob over the line, have 208 00:13:54.120 --> 00:14:01.279 that for advantage to really speak to customers and attract customers without some sort of 209 00:14:01.279 --> 00:14:05.080 performance marketing, I would say truly differentiated product and a potential for serious prand 210 00:14:05.120 --> 00:14:11.080 equity. You think about I guess when my public relations had on, like 211 00:14:11.200 --> 00:14:13.600 is there something within this around that's going to create an inherent sense of goodwill 212 00:14:13.960 --> 00:14:18.279 with a consumer, or is there something that gives this brand some sort of 213 00:14:18.279 --> 00:14:22.039 like unfair positioning, your nobility or authority? Is there something here that goes 214 00:14:22.120 --> 00:14:26.320 just beyond, frankly, um, like the product and what it's doing and 215 00:14:26.360 --> 00:14:30.799 more about permission and values and who this brand is and how it's positioned in 216 00:14:30.840 --> 00:14:33.559 the minds of his customers? Um, that's going to give it some sort 217 00:14:33.559 --> 00:14:37.480 of unfair advantage beyond, you know, performance marketing, paid ads that there. 218 00:14:37.600 --> 00:14:39.639 We have to believe there's some sort of story to be told there, 219 00:14:39.799 --> 00:14:43.200 you know, on the on kind of the more boring side, like, 220 00:14:43.399 --> 00:14:46.200 you know, do they have a supply chain strategy? They have a supply 221 00:14:46.240 --> 00:14:50.320 chain advantage again, and at least that also leads more into capital efficiency. 222 00:14:50.600 --> 00:14:54.279 Um, and uh, you know, are there either unit economics actually makes 223 00:14:54.279 --> 00:14:58.879 sense? Are they compelling? I know you also recently released a diversity report. 224 00:15:00.039 --> 00:15:03.200 I would love to know the origin of thinking about when you release this 225 00:15:03.279 --> 00:15:07.679 report and, you know, some of the goals that you had in in 226 00:15:07.799 --> 00:15:09.960 doing so. Yeah, thanks. So, yeah, we Um, just 227 00:15:11.039 --> 00:15:15.120 the spring we released this report and really, you know, diversity has always 228 00:15:15.120 --> 00:15:18.559 been a strong value at m twenty five, where, if you look at 229 00:15:18.559 --> 00:15:22.200 our our team, we're one of the most diverse BC groups out there. 230 00:15:22.559 --> 00:15:26.000 But, you know, especially with the murder of George Floyd and a lot 231 00:15:26.000 --> 00:15:30.960 of the public conversation, I personally started doing a lot of writing publicly on 232 00:15:31.200 --> 00:15:33.679 the matter, but also we decided to look as a firm and try to 233 00:15:33.679 --> 00:15:37.200 think about like hey, is there something proactive we can do and be more 234 00:15:39.039 --> 00:15:43.279 leaders in this space rather than, Um, trying to participate and just kind 235 00:15:43.279 --> 00:15:48.120 of watch and so, Um, we put together a pledge and part of 236 00:15:48.159 --> 00:15:52.360 that pledge, amongst other things, was was really around like trying to really 237 00:15:52.639 --> 00:15:54.840 put our money with our mouth was, and around the capability and transparency. 238 00:15:56.080 --> 00:15:58.600 And we did a lot of work um since then, and previously had been 239 00:15:58.600 --> 00:16:03.279 tracking some of this data, but really put a considered effort to emphasize tracking 240 00:16:03.639 --> 00:16:07.159 the data required to put out report that we did. And so, yeah, 241 00:16:07.200 --> 00:16:12.399 that's that's that's how it came about and we're really proud to actually deliver 242 00:16:12.440 --> 00:16:15.879 the mail on that and publish this report, which we did earlier this year. 243 00:16:17.200 --> 00:16:19.840 So, Mike, what were some of your learnings from your diversity report? 244 00:16:21.440 --> 00:16:23.039 Yeah, so I learned a lot. Learned that it's really hard to 245 00:16:23.080 --> 00:16:26.440 do this and do it effectively. We have to, you know, really 246 00:16:26.559 --> 00:16:30.399 kind of make sure our processes are in place to actually get meaningful data and 247 00:16:30.440 --> 00:16:33.480 we learned that we're doing great at some things and we sell some some places 248 00:16:33.480 --> 00:16:36.559 to improve. I'm glad to say that we're beating kind of the BC market 249 00:16:36.679 --> 00:16:41.200 on almost every measure for diversity, but that's frankly a low bar. Probably 250 00:16:41.279 --> 00:16:45.559 the stat that I'm most excited about is learning that almost half, I think, 251 00:16:45.600 --> 00:16:49.960 that is exactly like forty six percent of all the capital we've deployed to 252 00:16:51.039 --> 00:16:56.320 date has gone into what we defined as underrepresented founders, which included companies founded 253 00:16:56.639 --> 00:17:00.399 companies with a black, Latin x and or female founder. That's awesome and 254 00:17:00.440 --> 00:17:03.920 it's also, I mean, really great that obviously you are one of the 255 00:17:04.000 --> 00:17:08.160 most diverse funds in the world in venture capital, especially considering that that that 256 00:17:08.240 --> 00:17:12.519 venture capital is not very diverse overall. At a macro level, like what 257 00:17:12.599 --> 00:17:17.480 you know needs to be done in your view, or maybe what other funds 258 00:17:17.720 --> 00:17:19.319 Um could be done, since I know, like listeners, we we definitely 259 00:17:19.319 --> 00:17:22.519 have other vcs that that they listened to the show, but that could be 260 00:17:22.599 --> 00:17:26.640 done in order, for to ensure, you know, more diversity with NBC, 261 00:17:26.880 --> 00:17:30.559 I mean especially more diversity in terms of the actual number of founders that 262 00:17:30.559 --> 00:17:33.519 are me backed, whether it's people of Color Women. What, in your 263 00:17:33.559 --> 00:17:37.319 mind, like would you like to be seeing done that you think could generate 264 00:17:37.400 --> 00:17:41.160 another point of impact? Yeah, I think that's a great question and you 265 00:17:41.160 --> 00:17:45.559 know, outside on twenty five, I sit on the board for Black PC, 266 00:17:45.759 --> 00:17:48.759 which, you know, focuses primarily on serving and growing the number and 267 00:17:48.799 --> 00:17:52.880 furthering the number of black investors in venture capital. But I think specifically, 268 00:17:52.880 --> 00:17:57.920 like more broadly within tech and especially with with diverse founders getting fund of one 269 00:17:57.960 --> 00:18:03.200 thing I point to is just the importance of employees at tech companies being diverse. 270 00:18:03.359 --> 00:18:08.200 Like, if you look at the most founders that get funded, many 271 00:18:08.240 --> 00:18:12.960 of them either co founded or at least worked at a tech company prior Um 272 00:18:12.960 --> 00:18:17.839 that. I mean that that kind of early tech company experience is really kind 273 00:18:17.839 --> 00:18:22.039 of valued as part of that evaluation of the founders understanding and potential to actually 274 00:18:22.039 --> 00:18:26.759 execute them being a startup founder. Unfortunately, like the that is, that 275 00:18:26.079 --> 00:18:29.359 still is not as diverse as it could be, and so I think, 276 00:18:29.440 --> 00:18:33.920 like as vcs, it's an opportunity for us to continue to encourage our companies 277 00:18:33.960 --> 00:18:38.279 to to value diversity and factor that in, and I think that's why organizations 278 00:18:38.319 --> 00:18:41.920 like color stack, which is an organization I love to support and talk about, 279 00:18:42.240 --> 00:18:48.400 the focuses on attracting and retaining computer science students that are diverse and helping 280 00:18:48.400 --> 00:18:52.319 them find roles in tech companies after graduation, are so important. Um. 281 00:18:52.359 --> 00:18:56.960 But yeah, I point to things like how can we get how can we 282 00:18:56.079 --> 00:19:02.480 ensure that these this wave of tech companies are hiring, UM, diverse talent 283 00:19:02.559 --> 00:19:06.000 and promoting effectively. And I think on the venture front, I think, 284 00:19:06.400 --> 00:19:10.920 and we talked a lot about, um, hiring the verse talent, Um, 285 00:19:10.960 --> 00:19:14.480 but I think it's important that we denote like the roles types that we're 286 00:19:14.480 --> 00:19:18.240 having into as well. Um, you know, when they when a when 287 00:19:18.240 --> 00:19:21.720 an employee works for you, are they gonna, you know, do the 288 00:19:21.720 --> 00:19:25.440 type of work and build the type of resume and attribution to where you'd want 289 00:19:25.440 --> 00:19:27.519 to promote them into a senior role internally? or or they have the resume 290 00:19:27.640 --> 00:19:32.039 to go out and if you're not promoting internally, to to another firm and 291 00:19:32.039 --> 00:19:34.759 and grow in an investing career right? And I think, Um, you 292 00:19:34.799 --> 00:19:38.200 know, that's kind of like a second order function to not just hiring diverse 293 00:19:38.200 --> 00:19:41.440 talent but hiring them into the right roles and making sure they're given the right 294 00:19:41.480 --> 00:19:45.160 opportunities once once in in the venture capital industry. That makes a lot of 295 00:19:45.240 --> 00:19:49.079 heads. They appreciate you sharing, because what we've also, you know, 296 00:19:49.119 --> 00:19:52.599 talked about on the show too, is how which support is also true to 297 00:19:52.640 --> 00:19:56.400 make big change. It's it also trickles down on the VC side of things, 298 00:19:56.440 --> 00:20:00.359 where, like lps are invest seating more, you know, funds that 299 00:20:00.400 --> 00:20:03.680 are founded by, you know, people who happen to be people of Color 300 00:20:03.799 --> 00:20:07.680 Or, you know, women, and that trickles down to, you know, 301 00:20:07.759 --> 00:20:11.319 having more diverse fundards being funded. I love also, though, your 302 00:20:11.359 --> 00:20:14.279 take two, where it's sort of on the opposite end of the spectrum and 303 00:20:14.279 --> 00:20:18.119 saying how can we get more diverse people in roles at companies on the talent 304 00:20:18.200 --> 00:20:22.039 side, because usually, when you're maybe sourcing of what the Best Company is, 305 00:20:22.160 --> 00:20:26.079 what vcs like to do is build relationships with like who, like the 306 00:20:26.119 --> 00:20:30.519 first hires are or the talent behind it. Like that's usually then what kind 307 00:20:30.519 --> 00:20:33.039 of becomes interesting to vcs in terms of actually who to fund that at their 308 00:20:33.079 --> 00:20:37.960 next go around. I really appreciate that. That's awesome. You also created 309 00:20:38.200 --> 00:20:44.960 a board game called Unicorn to the moon. Would love to kind of learn 310 00:20:45.000 --> 00:20:48.960 more of why you decided to create a board game and like the purpose and 311 00:20:48.359 --> 00:20:51.799 overall, how it like kind of came together. Yeah, well, I 312 00:20:51.799 --> 00:20:53.680 mean, simply put, I have way too much time and really needed a 313 00:20:53.680 --> 00:20:59.480 really expensive hobby. No, I mean seriousness. I Love Board Games. 314 00:20:59.480 --> 00:21:03.200 Actually, Um, board games are kind of a way of life at I 315 00:21:03.240 --> 00:21:07.319 think they actually the Chicago Sun Times at one point wrote an article about Victorian 316 00:21:07.400 --> 00:21:12.079 is love for Katon that we're pretty serious about board games here. But really, 317 00:21:12.400 --> 00:21:15.799 really one one morning I woke up and couldn't shake this thought about a 318 00:21:15.839 --> 00:21:19.680 board game around like kind of a mechanics fround venture capital. Um, I 319 00:21:19.720 --> 00:21:22.759 really think that, you know, venture capital is very serious, but at 320 00:21:22.759 --> 00:21:26.519 the same time there's a lot of things about it that are I think, 321 00:21:26.880 --> 00:21:30.519 could be viewed with a lighter perspective. I mean just the way decisions are 322 00:21:30.559 --> 00:21:33.319 made. Occasionally, Um, that we've seen companies get funded. We all 323 00:21:33.319 --> 00:21:37.119 know the stories about so and so talked to so and so and the next 324 00:21:37.160 --> 00:21:40.599 thing you know that company rates a hundred million dollar seed or whatever it is 325 00:21:40.720 --> 00:21:42.920 right. And I thought like, as an as an operator in this space, 326 00:21:44.039 --> 00:21:48.480 like really thinking about, you know, building a fun building a portfolio, 327 00:21:48.480 --> 00:21:52.440 investment companies, winning deals, all this stuff had a lot of potential 328 00:21:52.559 --> 00:21:53.519 and it is really exciting, it's really fun, it's wife, it's one 329 00:21:53.519 --> 00:21:56.359 of the best jobs I could ever imagine having. But I thought I had 330 00:21:56.400 --> 00:22:00.240 a lot of potential for a game and at first my idea was just to 331 00:22:00.279 --> 00:22:03.279 kind of make it for myself and be like bound myself on the back and 332 00:22:03.599 --> 00:22:07.440 be happy. And then I realized that you could have the potential to serve 333 00:22:07.440 --> 00:22:11.519 a greater cause by donating the majority of the profits to actual charities, just 334 00:22:11.559 --> 00:22:15.240 like color stack. Color stacks one of the beneficiary charities. The others include 335 00:22:15.279 --> 00:22:18.359 groups like black VC and Latin, as we see, and a couple of 336 00:22:18.400 --> 00:22:23.279 others, all serving diversity and inclusion Um inventure capital and or Intertech and startups. 337 00:22:23.359 --> 00:22:26.920 But yeah, it's a it's a wonderful player game. It's Super Fun. 338 00:22:27.279 --> 00:22:32.640 You basically create a strategy, you invest in companies, you play action 339 00:22:32.680 --> 00:22:37.400 cards that let you hire basketball celebrities like Laurent Dames, who is a flop 340 00:22:37.480 --> 00:22:41.359 prone basketball superstar, who may or may not make a good film about one 341 00:22:41.400 --> 00:22:45.160 of your companies and, depending on your dice roll, the company either flops 342 00:22:45.400 --> 00:22:49.400 and your company gets tanked, or the company the movie goes off and your 343 00:22:49.400 --> 00:22:52.319 company goes off as well. And then you harvest, you make decisions on 344 00:22:52.480 --> 00:22:56.359 cashing out, doubling down, trying to, you know, launch these companies 345 00:22:56.400 --> 00:23:00.000 into Unicorns all the way to the moon, which is obviously a mass return 346 00:23:00.039 --> 00:23:03.039 for your fund and it's a great way, especially for founders, control their 347 00:23:03.200 --> 00:23:07.519 investors if they want to beat them at their own game. Um, but 348 00:23:07.640 --> 00:23:11.359 really the goal is to raise money for these these organizations put something out in 349 00:23:11.359 --> 00:23:15.519 the world it's really fun and enjoyable and also so that people don't have to 350 00:23:15.559 --> 00:23:19.400 watch redding wedding crashers to be exposed to VC. You could, uh, 351 00:23:19.599 --> 00:23:25.079 it's with your kids, I'm hoping. I'm hoping high schoolers and undergrads all 352 00:23:25.079 --> 00:23:27.640 across the country and get a chance to to get exposed to a really interesting 353 00:23:27.839 --> 00:23:32.680 aspect of the world that many communities don't get exposure too candidly, in a 354 00:23:32.720 --> 00:23:34.400 fun way. No, that's awesome. That's awesome. I'm definitely gonna buy 355 00:23:34.400 --> 00:23:38.640 it. How are you thinking about, you know, the current market today, 356 00:23:38.720 --> 00:23:44.000 because, you know, we've seen like quite a few headlines of especially 357 00:23:44.000 --> 00:23:48.039 like like Silicon Valley based companies and, you know, having down rounds and, 358 00:23:48.200 --> 00:23:52.200 you know, especially companies where maybe haven't produced much revenue but have, 359 00:23:52.359 --> 00:23:56.119 you know, heavy burn, not being able to fundraise or having raised down 360 00:23:56.200 --> 00:24:00.079 round or bridge round. What's been the perspective? Mean, what's it been 361 00:24:00.200 --> 00:24:03.359 like, because some of these companies, I feel like in the bay areas 362 00:24:03.400 --> 00:24:07.880 of it, that are pretty crazy valuations not that you can't get crazy valuations 363 00:24:07.920 --> 00:24:11.039 in the midwest, but just more so prone to that happened on the on 364 00:24:11.079 --> 00:24:15.279 the coast. What's been the market like currently in the Midwest? Um, 365 00:24:15.359 --> 00:24:18.519 during this particular point in time? Yeah, I think the market in the 366 00:24:18.519 --> 00:24:22.839 Midwest has been exposed to the same realities as as the broader market. Right 367 00:24:22.880 --> 00:24:29.359 I think can only be described as a what was a remarkable year for from 368 00:24:29.359 --> 00:24:33.839 evaluations and funding standpoint, and I think what we're experiencing now is, if 369 00:24:33.839 --> 00:24:38.119 anything, at least a path back to normalcy. And so, to your 370 00:24:38.119 --> 00:24:44.680 point, companies that raised at like excessive valuation multiples where revenue was in no 371 00:24:44.720 --> 00:24:48.200 way going to defend the type of evaluation you are going to have a hard 372 00:24:48.200 --> 00:24:52.960 time defending that and could potentially find themselves raising down or flat rounds unable to 373 00:24:52.960 --> 00:24:57.079 grow into evaluation like that. I think that's probably more around kind of the 374 00:24:57.160 --> 00:25:02.319 late stage right. I don't think that's as bigorite problem generally for companies like 375 00:25:02.319 --> 00:25:04.799 that. We're seated or raised the series a generally in the in the last 376 00:25:04.839 --> 00:25:10.240 hold months. But for the Midwest, I mean what you know two sides 377 00:25:10.279 --> 00:25:14.880 of this coin. Valuations here generally have been more modest. We do get 378 00:25:15.200 --> 00:25:18.000 great valuations here, like there are massive valuations that do occur here, um, 379 00:25:18.039 --> 00:25:22.799 but generally valuations are a little bit less of a premium. We're not 380 00:25:22.880 --> 00:25:26.119 as frequently seeing these hundred x, two x revenue multiples. We're seeing, 381 00:25:26.119 --> 00:25:30.079 for D fifties, sixty x for many multiples at a regular pop. But 382 00:25:30.319 --> 00:25:33.039 Um, that's a lot different, right, and a lot of these companies 383 00:25:33.240 --> 00:25:37.000 frankly, inherently have good business fundamentals. The rust from companies are known for 384 00:25:37.160 --> 00:25:41.200 generally being more capital efficient from a mindset and how they how they grow their 385 00:25:41.240 --> 00:25:45.440 business. And so, you know, I'm optimistic about the companies here that, 386 00:25:45.519 --> 00:25:48.480 you know, have have been well capitalized, do still have good business 387 00:25:48.480 --> 00:25:52.880 fundamentals and even if they raised that a premium, like will be more likely 388 00:25:52.920 --> 00:25:56.000 to be able to grow into that and and move forward. But the Midwest 389 00:25:56.039 --> 00:25:59.960 is in no way totally insulated by any means. Um, but yet market 390 00:26:00.000 --> 00:26:02.440 as a whole, I think, is it's gonna be an interesting time, 391 00:26:02.640 --> 00:26:06.279 for sure. Yeah, for sure, and I appreciate those thoughts around the 392 00:26:06.279 --> 00:26:10.559 Midwest. Um, what is one book that's disparity? You personally in one 393 00:26:10.599 --> 00:26:17.119 book that's disparity professionally. I read e boys back in the day and that 394 00:26:17.279 --> 00:26:19.640 was I believe that was the title. It was about the you know, 395 00:26:19.720 --> 00:26:26.039 benchmark early days and at the time it was ridiculous. I was I was 396 00:26:26.119 --> 00:26:33.960 just post wedding crashers, effectively right adventure capital asphistication. But I thought it 397 00:26:33.000 --> 00:26:37.359 was fascinating and super interesting and I thought build really was like the coolest human 398 00:26:37.400 --> 00:26:42.599 ever Um and not to say it, I'm still personally accidental superpower or the 399 00:26:42.599 --> 00:26:47.720 accidental superpower, I believe. I found it just totally fascinating and if you're, 400 00:26:47.759 --> 00:26:48.799 if you like, kind of a guns, grims and steel type of 401 00:26:48.839 --> 00:26:52.920 read, it's like that but a little bit more future looking, forward looking 402 00:26:53.160 --> 00:26:56.559 and and just kind of a really interesting perspective on like kind of how our 403 00:26:56.680 --> 00:27:00.400 nation has evolved out the world has evolved, to economies of all, on 404 00:27:00.440 --> 00:27:03.759 how how human nature has evolved. Just kind of a cool perspective. That's 405 00:27:03.759 --> 00:27:07.640 awesome. I'm so excited to add these two are to a book lists. 406 00:27:07.720 --> 00:27:10.960 Really appreciate you you share your thoughts on them. I've had a question to 407 00:27:11.000 --> 00:27:15.039 you is, maybe what's one piece of advice? You have four entrepreneurs that 408 00:27:15.039 --> 00:27:19.440 are currently building my advice tonentrepreneurs that are currently building is get back to the 409 00:27:19.480 --> 00:27:26.200 basics. Don't look at comps and treat yourself into thinking that, like, 410 00:27:26.359 --> 00:27:30.079 you can still go out and do that. Yeah, it's gonna be sort 411 00:27:30.119 --> 00:27:33.559 of a winter in that perspective, and it doesn't mean there's in a great 412 00:27:33.640 --> 00:27:37.359 opportunity to bid a great company. In fact, I think there's gonna be 413 00:27:37.400 --> 00:27:40.759 a phenomenal flight to quality. That's going to be a room make investing this 414 00:27:40.839 --> 00:27:44.559 year and the years to come really exciting. But yeah, like, get 415 00:27:44.599 --> 00:27:48.680 back to the fundamentals. Make sure you're creating real value and, on that 416 00:27:48.839 --> 00:27:52.000 note, honor the fact that in the in the earliest days, your job 417 00:27:52.079 --> 00:27:56.279 is really to hack value, not to hack growth. Hacking value has to 418 00:27:56.319 --> 00:27:59.400 precede hacking growth, or else growth, hack and growth won't work and you'll 419 00:27:59.400 --> 00:28:02.960 just be confused waste a bunch of time. So yeah, build, build 420 00:28:03.000 --> 00:28:06.039 something of real value and make sure you fully hack value at this stage, 421 00:28:06.039 --> 00:28:07.839 and there any stage. That's awesome. Are you on fund? Two? 422 00:28:08.160 --> 00:28:11.759 Three? One? Which Fund are you? One currently for? M Five, 423 00:28:12.279 --> 00:28:18.400 if you include the Alpha Angel Portfolio Type Fund that I related to mentioned 424 00:28:18.400 --> 00:28:21.640 that picture. was investing at it when we met. We are currently on 425 00:28:21.680 --> 00:28:25.200 fund tree, currently on Funtree Fund three. Okay, great, okay. 426 00:28:25.240 --> 00:28:27.720 How much is currently fund three? In terms of under management, countree is 427 00:28:27.759 --> 00:28:33.200 a thirty two million dollar fund. So what is like the goal? Old 428 00:28:33.200 --> 00:28:37.839 simility? Four, m five, because there's now been, you know, 429 00:28:37.079 --> 00:28:41.880 obviously we've as you know, strength builds on strength and, as you know, 430 00:28:42.000 --> 00:28:48.400 vcs return capital and raise their new fund they're usually raising bigger and larger 431 00:28:48.400 --> 00:28:52.759 and larger funds and we've seen that happen definitely over the last ten years, 432 00:28:52.200 --> 00:28:56.960 right. But there's also been like another strategy that's kind of evolving where vcs 433 00:28:57.000 --> 00:29:02.599 are actually then kind of rejecting capital and want to stay at their current size. 434 00:29:02.759 --> 00:29:04.200 And so I guess my question for you, Mike, is the goal 435 00:29:04.559 --> 00:29:08.880 of the to be like always be kind of like a prese seed investor, 436 00:29:10.000 --> 00:29:12.160 where you're in early. The fund will never kind of cross me, but 437 00:29:12.240 --> 00:29:15.799 like a hundred million dollar special per se? Or is it to, you 438 00:29:15.839 --> 00:29:21.039 know, maybe own more of the stack and raise each time larger and large 439 00:29:21.039 --> 00:29:23.319 and larger amounts, maybe dip your toes into maybe series a's and series BS? 440 00:29:23.720 --> 00:29:26.599 That's a great question. I think for us our first goal was to 441 00:29:26.640 --> 00:29:32.559 be the best preseed fund in the middlewest and our next goal is just be 442 00:29:32.880 --> 00:29:36.880 top series. As we talk to your presede seed fund just recognized as being 443 00:29:37.039 --> 00:29:38.640 best in class at at what we do at the stage, and I think 444 00:29:38.680 --> 00:29:42.079 that's the focus that vic and I fully ligned on and really excited about our 445 00:29:42.119 --> 00:29:45.839 opportunity for. We really like playing the stage and we feel like we're building 446 00:29:45.839 --> 00:29:52.279 an expertise in special specialization here that's really valuable. Of course, there's opportunity 447 00:29:52.319 --> 00:29:55.680 to continue to, you know, take advantage of a Peretta and grow and 448 00:29:55.720 --> 00:29:59.440 follow on deeper and deeper into late stage rounds. I think for us we're 449 00:29:59.440 --> 00:30:02.880 probably more or that variety that we'd really like to and you can still have 450 00:30:03.000 --> 00:30:04.720 a you know, we can still grow from here from a fun sized perspective 451 00:30:04.720 --> 00:30:08.200 for sure, and still focus on precede the seed but I think for us 452 00:30:08.319 --> 00:30:11.960 there there is a point where we're going to ask ourselves, do we really 453 00:30:11.960 --> 00:30:15.519 want to have this mix exposure this late or is there a different vehicle that 454 00:30:15.559 --> 00:30:18.799 we may put together to take advantage of that for rat and follow on, 455 00:30:18.960 --> 00:30:22.000 or do we want to bring on, grow the team and grow the expertise 456 00:30:22.039 --> 00:30:26.680 to to go to those later stages more intentionally with as tbd, and I 457 00:30:26.680 --> 00:30:30.519 would say our current sentiment is probably more to be focused on what we're good 458 00:30:30.559 --> 00:30:33.079 at and trying to be the best at that. Mike, Thanks so much 459 00:30:33.079 --> 00:30:34.359 for your time. This is so much fun. Yeah, Mike, Thanks 460 00:30:34.359 --> 00:30:37.480 for having me. This is a blast. I really enjoyed it. And 461 00:30:37.480 --> 00:30:40.079 there you have it. It was so great having Mike on the show. 462 00:30:40.200 --> 00:30:42.480 Thanks again for coming on, Mike. If you enjoyed this episode, I 463 00:30:42.559 --> 00:30:45.640 love it if you'd write a review on the apple podcast. You're also welcome 464 00:30:45.640 --> 00:30:48.680 to follow me your host, Mike, on twitter at Mike Gelb, and 465 00:30:48.759 --> 00:30:59.640 also follow for episode announcements at Consumer VC. Thanks for listening, everyone. 466 00:31:00.000 --> 00:31:11.720 It from what is all what do, from what a