Archive for September, 2020

On Skipping Brunch, Service, and the Pursuit of 10 People

Posted on September 13, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Chris and I spent Saturday morning on Zoom with a founder who is in the last stages of a pretty intentional fundraise process. There’s something I love about a founder who validates an investor’s level of interest and commitment by their willingness to speak early on a Saturday morning. In times like these, where lazy, momentum oriented investors will throw money at anything that’s “working,“ conviction means something different. I love a founder who says “i’ve got plenty of people asking to invest, but are you willing to skip your brunch this weekend because that’s what my company needs in this pivotal moment?”

For Pace, it’s a no brainer. Service and support for founders is at the core of what we do. It’s a philosophy that extends to our prospective partners the same as it does founders with whom we already work. Pace, by design, makes very few investments each year. It allows us to concentrate on relationships that matter. We love that board seats don’t scale. We take a drop everything, full resource of our team at the moment of need, approach to serving founders, and we’ve organized our firm in a way that allows that practice to be sustainable in perpetuity. There are a lot of different ways that VC firms try to scale GP time: large platform efforts, function specific services, junior investment professionals filling in at board meetings…all levers to pull so that the incremental GP at Megafirm X can hold 22 board seats while slinging another 10 “small checks” per year. Those approaches just aren’t us. We don’t want to scale. We’re optimizing for fewer deeper relationships and there’s nothing I would rather be doing on Saturday morning than developing depth with someone who inspires me.

I recently internalized a pretty clarifying framework around partnering with founders in these frenzied times. I’ve come to believe that there are about 10 professional relationships that will define the next decade of my life. When I’m thinking about making an investment and committing to serve on a company’s board, I ask myself “is this person(s) one of those 10 people?” Of course the product matters a ton, the mission matters a ton, the market matters, the economic opportunity matters, etc…but at the end of the day we are the aggregate of those with whom we spend our time, and distilling complex decisions down to something as simple as “who are this decade’s 10 people?” has proven to be a useful lens.

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Pace x Mulberry

Posted on September 3, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Today one of our portfolio companies at Pace announced their Series A financing. I’ve been waiting to talk about Mulberry since we invested in March, and now I finally can! Currently, Mulberry delivers product insurance and warranty coverage via an API at the point of sale through e-commerce and D2C channels. Whereas a company like Affirm distributes credit through these channels at the point of sale, Mulberry similarly distributes insurance. For E-Commerce sites, Mulberry empowers them to offer an Apple Care-like experience to their end customers, while simultaneously dropping meaningful margin to their own bottom line. For consumers, Mulberry lets you protect the purchases you value, whether it be your Mirror fitness equipment or your Breville espresso maker, both of whom are amongst a wide set of brands with whom Mulberry has partnered. There is a real elegance to Mulberry’s model and the company has clearly found product/market fit, but the real story with Mulberry is the team. At the helm is one of the strongest CEOs I’ve ever worked with in my decade plus in venture. Chinedu’s story is kind of nuts. He grew up in Nigeria, his parents won the visa lottery and they moved here when he was 11. At 16 he went to Cornell, where he graduated early and immediately cofounded a fintech company called Zibby. He scaled into the CTO role there despite not having focused on computer science in school. Zibby has built 9 figures worth of enterprise value and is still going strong. I’ve had the pleasure in serving on Mulberry’s board since March and have been blown away by the quality and character of Chinedu, his three co-founders (Lee, Ashley, and Ali), and the broader leadership team at the company. We’ve recently leveled up leadership across a number of key functions within the company, and I’d say the unifying theme amongst the entire leadership team is a deep motivation to practice their respective crafts at the highest level. Mulberry has executed through COVID beautifully, experiencing tailwinds on a number of fronts while addressing headwinds confidently and thoughtfully. The company has grown meaningfully since we made our initial investment, and is on track to have a great year. This is not a company you join for the quick flip. The team is extremely long term in their orientation, and I believe Mulberry will be a public company one day, albeit not for quite some time. We’re actively looking to bring on a VP Marketing, as well as some consumer product DNA to lead an exciting new business line that has the potential to transform the company. I’m in it for the long haul here, and would love to work closely with you if you’re interested in joining this special organization and team. Pace led Mulberry’s Series A alongside returning investors like Founder Collective and Quiet Capital and we were fortunate to bring in a few amazing strategic angels like Jack Chou (Former CPO at Affirm and Pinterest) and Jeff Weinstein (Product at Stripe). If you’d like to learn more about Mulberry, hit me up:

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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