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Our guest today is Will Schmitt, Head of Venture Strategy at Miroma Ventures. Miroma just launched a $100 million fund focused on consumer and media brands. Previously he was at Naturaza and led investments in OROS, Yellowbird - If you remember the founder of Yellowbird, and Cleancult. He also previously co-founded Trail Post Ventures with Nick Mindel. We discuss how Will thinks about fund differentiation, starting a business online vs. retail, and pulling the right levers for growth. Without further ado, here's Will.
Some of the questions I ask Will:
- What was your attraction to finance and consumer?
- What were doing before Miroma Ventures?
- How did you end up joining Miroma?
- How do you think about fund differentiation?
- When do you typically like to partner with companies?
- I've had on investors who say for digitally native brands, don't touch paid marketing until you get to $1 million in sales via word of mouth. I've had other investors who say the bar is so high that you should only really be thinking about raising venture capital if you have a $10 million revenue run rate. How do you think about the right growth levers, when to use them and if a company can be venture backabl
- When are early signs that a consumer brand has gotten past the noise?
- Community has become a bit of buzzword. How have you seen brands build community?
- One of your missions is to invest in under represented founders, particularly female founders. As Claire Diaz-Ortiz said on her episode if you don't have a biast, you actually aren't human and the biasm in venture is people typically invest in people who look like them. i.e. overwhelming majority of VCs are white males, so the majority of founders that get funded are white males.What do you do differently? How do you think about breaking that mold and make sure you have a diverse network?
- How do you think about diversification?
- What does a great exit look like for you?
- I've had on Ernesto Schmitt (related?) and he said that brands are heading into retail way too early. I then had on Andy Dunn from Bonobos who thinks you should start in retail from the very beginning. When do you think is the right moment to head into retail?
- What are some of the particular verticals or trends that you are excited about?
- What's one thing you would change about venture capital?
- What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
- What's the best piece of advice that you've received?
- What's one piece of advice for founders?