Feb. 2, 2021

Rick Desai (Listen) - What Makes a Compelling Brand, Why He Loves Patagonia, and His Approach to Investing in Consumer Products

Rick Desai (Listen) - What Makes a Compelling Brand, Why He Loves Patagonia, and His Approach to Investing in Consumer Products

Thank you Samara Hernandez for introducing me to our guest today, Rick Desai, one of the Partners at Listen. Listen is a consumer venture capital fund that backs and builds the brand of tomorrow. Some of their investments include Calm, Factor and Public Goods. Rick is also the founder of Dashfire, which invests in early stage entrepreneurs and provides near-term technical extension and long-term strategic guidance. We talk about opportunities he's seeing both in consumer products and consumer technology, how he thinks about growth vs profitability and investing in founders in secondary markets.


You can follow Rick on Twitter @RickDesai.


The Consumer VC Summit: February 23-25

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Summit.theconsumervc.com

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Here are some of the questions I ask Rick -

  1. What was your attraction to finance and consumer?
  2. I'd love to hear the origin story of Listen?
  3. At the beginning of Listen, when it came to growing brands online, you had arbitrage opportunities in growth. Now, the landscape has changed. How do you define and build a compelling brand now?
  4. We've seen investors shift away from investing in consumer brands. How do you think about opportunities?
  5. Walk me through your due diligence process
  6. Has COVID disrupted that process?
  7. Seems like we went through a long phase of grow at all costs, now we've shifted the focus to to profitability. When do you feel it makes sense to shift the focus from growth to profitability?
  8. What trends are you currently focused on?
  9. What's one thing that you would change when it came to venture capital?
  10. What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
  11. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
  12. What's one piece of advice for founders?