My guest today is Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner at Forerunner Ventures. Kirsten launched Forerunner in 2012 and has built it into a leading consumer-focused venture firm with early investments in consumer brands like Dollar Shave Club, Bonobos, Faire, and Warby Parker. Our conversation is an exploration of consumer behavior and how to invest behind change in our society. We also discuss frameworks for identifying brands early, how to build deal flow, and the shift in power between buyers and sellers. Please enjoy my conversation with Kirsten Green.
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[00:02:35] - [First question] - The insights gleaned from studying consumers in the modern era
[00:07:02] - Whether or not the shift in consumer behavior is similar to a platform shift like mobile
[00:09:58] - Which of her hypothesis going into the research was proven most wrong
[00:11:31] - The leading persona archetype that drives consumer spending
[00:13:58] - Thoughts about her investing focus after doing all of this research
[00:16:23] - How much the digital world is good and bad for community
[00:18:50] - Positive and negative impacts digital access has on children
[00:21:17] - The investing criteria that she and her firm have developed for founders and business models they find desirable
[00:29:20] - An example of the middle of the spectrum between tailwinds and headwinds that may result in them passing on a business
[00:32:00] - The beachhead problem for entry points, encouraging good focus and entry point selection, and who’s done it well
[00:35:33] - The history of the consumer of how they buy and sell and where the shifts in power have been
[00:39:47] - Other interesting trends she’s seeing in the seller empowerment era
[00:43:35] - How different her investing models are for linear product businesses
[00:46:45] - Frameworks she’s developed for evaluating a brand early on
[00:49:57] - The most defining moment in Forerunner’s history and the hardest lesson she’s had to learn
[00:53:13] - Ways she’s fostered and mentored young investors at Forerunner
[00:54:04] - What the most underappreciated thing is today about the consumer
[00:54:50] - User and customer development strategies that work well for early stage products
[00:56:26] - Three businesses young investors should study to educate themselves on great consumer businesses; Shoe Dog
[00:59:49] - Where they find the companies Forerunner tends to invest in, and how to build and effective deal flow pipeline
[01:05:07] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for her