My guest today is Andrew Sugrue, co-founder, and partner at Avenir Growth Capital. Avenir is a growth equity firm focused on backing category-defining businesses. In our conversation, we cover Andrew’s investing career, what he learned from Julian Robertson, how counter-positioning could drive unique distribution, and the difference between good and bad growth. We also spend time examining the business model of two of Andrew’s portfolio businesses, SavageXFenty and Latch. There are so many great lessons for investors and operators to take away from Andrew. Please enjoy my conversation with Andrew Sugrue.
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[00:03:31] - [First question] - His journey leading up to his current firm
[00:05:55] - Lessons learned from time spent with Julian Robinson
[00:07:54] - The chip on his shoulder that helped keep him driven
[00:08:40] - Transforming his early motivators into a sustainable career-long fuel
[00:10:46] - The first things in mind when approaching a new business or person
[00:14:00] - Analysis of Savage Lingerie and learning about how that sector operates
[00:20:27] - Amazon producing a one-hour special Savage infomercial
[00:23:16] - Lessons learned from Savage that can be applied to other direct to consumer brands
[00:25:04] - Having a celebrity at the forefront of your brand
[00:26:41] - Levers and overview of apparel company income statements and how they can shape the way you grow and operate the business
[00:30:08] - Apparel companies always being tied to identity
[00:31:03] - Analysis of Latch and learning about the relationship between hardware and software
[00:33:40] - How Latch works and why you might need it
[00:38:56] - Other businesses that may benefit from understanding the events that drive demand and using it as an opportunity for customer acquisition
[00:40:12] - The concept of density of demand and the power behind it
[00:41:33] - Other areas of operations density of demand could be applied
[00:44:11] - Shared components that unite Avenir’s portfolio companies
[00:46:14] - How he thinks about the world of private investment, having lived such a diverse career
[00:50:22] - Developing relationships growing such a concentrated portfolio
[00:51:35] - Macro thoughts on the state of investing today
[00:52:59] - Defining and identifying characteristics of bad growth
[00:54:05] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him