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Amanda Goetz on Upstream, CITYROW and Unorthodox Ventures
Welcome Consumer VCers!
Hi There -
I hope you are having a great week. Currently I’m in the middle of reading the book Monster Loyalty by Jackie Huba, which is all about how Lady Gaga developed an amazingly loyal, fanatical fanbase and what businesses could learn from it. Thank you Robin Li for turning me on to it! I’ll do a full blogpost about it next week as I have lots highlighted and many takeaways. I now find myself dancing/walking my dog Finn each morning while re-listening to Gaga’s first couple albums. So many jams.
Starting next week, this newsletter will be released twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays - bringing every new podcast episode straight to your inbox along with my learnings from the week and event announcements.
Speaking of event announcements…
Upstream Event Today
If you are around today at 4pm ET / 1pm PT, we’re going to be having another Upstream meetup! It’s a pleasure to have Amanda Goetz, Founder of House of Wise, a luxury CBD brand by women for women. For those that haven't been before, it's a 25-30 minute event total (10-15 minute chat with Amanda + 15-20 minute of three 1on1 video matches with other attendees). It's really fun.
I believe this is the first week you’d be able to use Upstream on browser / laptop, but if that doesn’t work, shift over to mobile.
This Week on Consumer VC
Helaine Knapp, Founder & CEO of CITYROW
Company: CITYROW is a boutique fitness studio which started in New York City that specializes in a total body, high-intensity, low-impact workout using a water-based rowing machine and strength-training exercises.
My Biggest Takeaway: You don’t need to be the user of the product in order to sense an opportunity. Helaine was quite open about this when she talked about her beginnings. Low-impact workouts was a more sustainable way to stay in shape, but she actually didn’t like the rowing machine as an option for her. However, she thought it would be great option for other people and at the time there weren’t many studios that had rowing as the main proposition.
Favorite Quote: I started CITY ROW as a studio business. And then to me, it was a very natural progression to bring that at home. I am a very techie person. And I love this industry, this category so much that I started watching that all of a sudden, there was a boom in people being able to work out at home again. And again, I think this comes back to macro trends, Mike in that people are not giving up on working out in great ways just because they can't physically get there…And I saw that opportunity in 2016 we started seeing a couple of big names come out there and I thought to myself, you know, I didn't start this company to just open brick and mortar studios, right I started to grow because I knew there had to be a better and a smarter way to work out we're not limited by one modality of working or one you know category in studio fitness is one category where people consume fitness. But there's another category which is growing right it's actually still pretty tiny compared to the little workout studio like very tiny but it's growing and I was like I think that there's this is gonna be a hot category long term we as a brand feels very Important to meet the customers where they are.
Carey Smith - Founder of Unorthodox Ventures
Company: Carey was the CEO and founded Big Ass Fans, which he grew to $250 million without raising capital. After the sale, he founded Unorthodox Ventures. Unorthodox is a family office that takes a hands on approach post investment as every member of Unorthodox’s team comes from an operating background and becomes deeply involved in their portfolio companies.
My Question: What do you look for in founders?
Carey’s Reply: It's amazing to me how few companies…that have been in business for several years that are still small, how little planning they actually do. And that, to me is an indicator that people aren't willing and aren't able to put the time in to build a reasonably detailed business plan. They're not good partners. So that's one of the things that I would I would suggest the other thing is, I think it makes a difference in terms of how creative and how well these people and how interested they are in learning something if if when we come up against somebody that just like absolutely knows every goddamn thing there is to know our that's what they imagine, that's somebody you're not going to be able to work with. Because those people typically we would not listen to advice.
That’s all from me. I’ll see you on Tuesday.
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