273. The “Three Layer Cake” Fund, How Personal Experience Drives Your Investment Lens, The Future of Tech for the Aging Population, & How a Solo GP Can Do it All (Monique Woodard)

Monique Woodard

Monique Woodard of Cake Ventures joins Nick to discuss The “Three Layer Cake” Fund, How Personal Experience Drives Your Investment Lens, The Future of Tech for the Aging Population, & How a Solo GP Can Do it All. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Cake Ventures?
  • You have a strong focus on looking for startups that are addressing the needs of a world undergoing massive demographic changes. Talk to us a bit about how you approach investing in demographic change?
  • What sort of demographic changes do you believe will have opportunities?
  • Were you surprised to see Baby Boomers dominating online shopping?
  • What is it like being a solo GP? What are the pros and cons?
  • How do you replicate and try to scale yourself?
  • Context switching is often cited as the hardest thing about what we do.  Talk us through your schedule and how you manage context switching?
  • This question is called three data points.  I’m going to give you a hypothetical situation w/ a startup and you can ask three questions for three specific data points.
    • Let’s say you are approached to invest in a consumer social business with 100k MAUs, and 20% MoM growth for the last 3 months. The catch is you can only ask for 3 data points to make your decision.
    • What 3 questions do you ask?

Guest Links:

Transcribed with AI:

Monique Woodard joins us today from San Francisco. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Cake Ventures and early stage venture fund investing in companies that address the needs of a world undergoing massive demographic changes. Prior to Kate ventures, she was a venture partner at 500. startups. Monique, welcome to the show.

Thank you. Thanks for having.

Yeah, talk us through your background and your path to investing. Yeah, so

I grew up in rural rural Florida, and so not a place where you would expect to, for a VC to come from maybe I grew up on a farm, but I was always really into technology, and got a computer when I was like, eight or so. And, you know, I definitely think, got a computer when I was about eight, but also played a ton of video games growing up. And I think that video games is a gateway drug to technology, in a lot of ways for a lot of us who grew up in the, you know, 80s, I went to University of Miami thought I was gonna go to law school that was always sort of like tinkering on the internet on the side, and got really good building products really good at growth in and moving traffic. And ultimately, a company based in the Bay Area knew of me and knew that I was good at building and asked me to come out and talk to them. And I had never been to San Francisco didn’t even have San Francisco on my radar is a place where I should be. But I was here for 36 hours, and I moved 30 days later. And I’ve been in San Francisco ever since. And that really sort of immersed me and everything that was going on in Silicon Valley in 2008. Right, so Uber, Airbnb, all of these people that I was now around, were just building really interesting, cool things. And to be, you know, in a place where that was happening on a regular basis was such a gift. And I started a community of founders, with my friends, and really started working closely with other entrepreneurs and introducing them to the investors that I knew introducing them to other entrepreneurs. And, you know, just really being that bridge for a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of founders who were well represented in, in Silicon Valley in San Francisco at the time. And, you know, at one point, I sort of looked around and realized that I was doing a lot of the work of a VC without actually being a VC and without, more importantly, without the fund behind me to invest in all of these great entrepreneurs that I knew. And so I decided to try to make my way onto the investor side of the table. I was sending out cold emails, I was asking people at meetups, if I could be there EIR. And then ultimately, I knew Christine and Dave over at 500 startups. And I came in and and was talking to a few people there about, you know, about investing. And ultimately, they invited me to join the team at 500. And so started investing out of their seed program, also did some some Sub Saharan Africa deals, and was sort of opening up a lot of the relationships there. And having a great time doing it. And so that was sort of my entry point into venture. I decided to leave 500 in 2018, started scout investing at lightspeed in the meantime. And all along the way, I was sort of putting together the thesis for the fund that I run now, which is kick ventures.

So why, you know, launch your own fund, why not continue with 500? Or, you know, work with lightspeed or another large fund?

Yeah, I think, you know, a few reasons. One, I’m definitely an entrepreneur at heart, right. And so, starting a new fund, and being an emerging fund manager, I think of that is just like, it’s just a new type of business starting. And so there’s definitely, you know, the entrepreneurial itch to start something new. However, I think that you, you probably shouldn’t start a fund unless you really, really, really, really, really, really want to,

is really one of the most painful experiences that you may ever have. And so I sort of, you know, looked around and there wasn’t a fund in the market who was thinking about the world and thinking about demographic changes in exactly the same way that I was. And so I felt like my My personal investing thesis was going to be really difficult to sort of wedge into an a firm that was already in existence and already had a had a track record and a point of view and a thesis. And so, you know, I just decided that, look, this doesn’t really exist in the world. And I feel like I’m good enough to build it.

Yeah. So tell us about cake ventures. And maybe we’ll start out with the origin of the name. And then tell us a bit about this thesis around, you know, demographic changes. Yeah, I

think naming a fund is probably the hardest part of forget, forget pitching LPs. It’s really, what are you going to call this thing?

Once you pick?

Yeah, exactly, for a very long time. So I was sort of, you know, brainstorming on a few different names. And I really wanted something that was very memorable and brandable. And didn’t sound like anything else that was already out there. Right wasn’t named after a tree was a name, my last name, you know, it was it was unique. And when I started thinking about the demographic changes, I always saw it, as you know, these layers that were stacked on top of each other. So, you know, cake, you know, we invest in demographic changes that are changing the way that we should invest in technology. And those are changes to the internet user base, the first layer of the cake is, you know, this massive aging market 10,000 people turning 65 every single day. The second layer of the cake is companies that will get $2 billion outcomes based on the economic activity of women. So women as the primary user base driving companies to these large outcomes. And the third layer of the cake is the rise of a new majority, where people of color become the majority in the US, and already make up a global majority if you’re building a global company. And so every time I thought about it, I just saw them stacked one on top of the other. And at some point, I just sort of got this layer cake idea stuck in my head, and I couldn’t let go of it. And so it wasn’t really I was like, oh, calling a fun to cake. That’s kind of a little hokey, isn’t it, people are gonna think it’s like, Oh, that’s so cute and sweet. And, you know, maybe they will think that, but I just couldn’t get it out of my head. And so I felt like that was, that was the name, it’s, it’s when you can’t get something out of your head that you should probably just dive in and go with it.

I love the the the layers of the cake and the analogy of our firms called the new stack. So we think about the stacks and the layers as well. So there’s kind of a loose similarity there. Many tell us a bit about how your background has kind of shaped your investment, lens and philosophy.

Yeah, so I definitely, you know, I fit into two layers of the cake, first of all, and, and ultimately will fit into the third layer. Because everybody ages everybody gets old. So definitely I, you know, I have personal experience with with two layers of the cake. But you know, when I look around at Tech, and I look around at innovation, I often see I see a lot of investors investing in things that they end up being really familiar with. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the phone with someone and they say, Oh, I invested in X, because my kids were doing y right? Or, oh, I invested in this thing. Because, you know, my my wife was using it all the time. Right. And so your personal experience drives so much of your investment lens in your in your point of view. And I think that a lot of products are getting built that are, you know, they’re great for, you know, a engineer at Facebook, who makes $200,000 a year and lives in San Francisco. Right. But I think that there is a huge swath of the world that is missing out on on a lot of innovation. I mean, what about the truck driver who makes $50,000 a year or what about the, you know, the stay at home mom in in Iowa. And I think that there’s a lot of missed opportunity. And that often we are serving and building products for the 1% when we should be really building products for the 99%

couldn’t agree more.

I think you know, I grew up in a small rural town I grew up on a dirt road and I have family members who are truck drivers. I have family members who are blue collar workers, and I’m really interested in innovation that that touches the lives of not real people, because everybody’s a real person that touches the lives of a much wider variety of people. And so I definitely think my background kind of speaks to the end speaks to the kind of fun that I’m raising.

Do you find that the founders themselves also have a different profile?

Definitely, I think that that the founders have a lot of life experience that mirrors the types of customers that they’re serving, right. And I think that’s great. I think that, you know, we need more variety of experiences in the entrepreneurs that we’re backing, and we need more variety of companies that they’re that they’re bringing to market. So I think that leads to sort of a natural diversity around a lot of different things.

Talk to me a bit about sourcing and selection, and how that may be different, right? Like we hear about the valley. It’s an echo chamber, there’s networks, everyone gets referred in, you know, a lot of people are backing pedigree teams from this tech company from that academic institution, I would expect you can tell me if I’m wrong, but I would expect your approach to sourcing is different than what’s really common in the valley, right, being a part of the club. And then from a selection standpoint, you know, how do you think your investment decisions or your process might be different than that the common, you know, we’re gonna invest in these really smart, young white males that are building the next big DevOps, you know, infrastructure platform?

Yeah, so we’re in an interesting time, right now, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, we can’t leave our homes for the most part, and, and now a company that is based in Atlanta looks exactly the same over zoom as a company that’s based in San Francisco in a lot of ways. So I think that, you know, the zoom of it all, the pandemic of it all, has democratized access to, to investors in a lot of ways, right. And so, when I think about sourcing, it’s, you know, I might not be in Atlanta for, you know, for another six months, otherwise, but, you know, now you can talk to me, and I’m in my living room, and you’re in yours. So I think that kind of sourcing has, has been, has been beneficial to to investors like me. And then, you know, I’ve also, I’ve written a lot, I’ve always been like, a fairly prolific writer, although a little bit less, so last few months. And I think writing about the things that you are interested in, and the things that the types of companies and the types of founders that get you excited, is one really good hack to be able to attract the right kind of people to, to your fund into what you’re building. And so, you know, I think that a huge part of my sourcing strategy has been around research writing, and, you know, being very vocal about what I’m looking for. And when I’m in when I’m evaluating founders, you know, after the sourcing comes the evaluation, and is this the type of team is this the type of company that I’m interested in investing in? And, you know, I really think, for me, the first phone call, or the first zoom is really just about getting to know the person and why they care about this problem enough to spend the next you know, 710, possibly more years of their life on it. And so, I really like to hear people’s their origin story, you know, where where do they come from? Why, why did they choose this? Why not do something else? And that really is the first step for me. And getting to getting to know getting to know the team behind the product, because I think that’s, that’s the biggest thing that I’m investing in.

Mm hmm. Good. You wrote this article kind of about e commerce and in baby boomers, I was quite surprised to see that. It looks like boomers represent the majority of online shopping today. Can you can you talk about sort of that effort and kind of some of the the key insights after you know researching online shop insurance.

So I wrote a 60 page report a 60, page white paper on sort of the aging market and, and what drives the those consumers called in the papers called Green new world. And I really wanted to do a couple of things, one, collect some, some data and look at the research, and then to actually talk to real people. Which I think we don’t necessarily do enough of

any white papers don’t do that.

And, you know, I have been talking to people about aging and boomers for a very long time. And sort of, you know, I did my first aging related investment back in 2016. And, you know, for for a while, people are saying, Oh, well, this, they’re not online, and they’re hard to acquire. And I really wanted to sort of, and they don’t adopt new technology, and I really wanted to debunk a few of those things. So when I asked, you know, people, what they wanted to use technology for, it really was it was, we got really interesting results, they actually wanted to use technology to connect with their doctors and actually conducted the most of the research before the pandemic. So I released the white paper in February of 2020. And so did all of this research, pre pandemic, in pre pandemic, they were already saying that they wanted to use technology to talk to their doctors. And so when sort of the boom and telehealth really happened in the pandemic, it was unsurprising, right? And very similar, very similarly, the boom and online shopping for this aging demographic was also kind of unsurprising to me because that is exactly what they said they wanted. But I think it’s a great thing, I think it’s, I think it was sort of happening in the background, and the pandemic, rushed it to the surface so that everyone could see it. And I think that given the length of the time that many of us have been under lockdown, and the ease at which, you know, they have adopted things like instacart, and doordash. And many other platforms, we’re only going to see more accelerated adoption in in people who are older. And, you know, frankly, Gen X is getting older, and we’ve always been very online. And so I think that a lot of the platforms that people thought, you know, someone over 55, would not use that those myths are going to be completely debunked and, and just go away. And I think that there’s a big opportunity for investors to invest. And we are starting to see a lot more investors investing in the aging space, Andreessen just led a deal into a company called bold, which is online fitness for, for older people. And so I think we’re going to start to see a lot more large firms falling into the category. And I think that’s a beautiful thing.

I feel like I saw some news that Elon patricof, or somebody really notable launched a fund that’s focused on the aging population.

Yeah, Primetime partners, Alan, and Abby launched an entire fund dedicated to aging. So you know, aging is one of my three pillars, but their entire fund is dedicated to it. And I think the more we see more capital in the market, and great people like Alan and Abby, making good investments, the better. It’s interesting for me to hear that the desire has always been for the aging population to use technology to do a lot of these things. It just maybe it’s the existing tech solutions that

are available just aren’t easy enough to use, you know, I think about my own parents, and they were forced to use instacart. And they were in you know, now they are familiar with grubhub and doordash. And because of the pandemic, but in a lot of ways, the technology is just maybe it’s a little the UI or the UX or something about it might be a little too challenging, even though the desire is in fact there.

Yeah, and I think, you know, it’s, there are also teams who are making decisions who are are definitely saying, look, this group of people, they’re not going to use this and Anyway, so why should we make it easier? Why? Why should we make the UX easier for them to use, because they’re not really our, our target audience, they’re not our target customer, right? But if we go into development with with this customer as a persona, because now we know that they are actually going to be using these these apps and these platforms, then I think that completely changes changes the perspective of the team as they’re building product, because they’re actually going to be building toward making it easier for much wider swath of people to use their products.

And remind me you do focus exclusively on pre seed and seed stage startups are, you know, do you have a stage orientation?

I like seed, I’ll do some pre seed, I like the entire seed spectrum set of seed pre seed posts, post seed pre I.

Okay. Before the A, and how many investments will you do from cake fund one,

I’ll do roughly 25 investments. So a relatively concentrated portfolio, most of those will be in to seed companies, although I do have, you know, some allocation for for pre seed, and, you know, average check size is half a million, half

a million. Okay. And it will be in those those three buckets that you mentioned before, talk a bit about underrepresented founders, and kind of your your focus there and some of the startups that you’re interested in investing in, in the space that, you know, have previously not gotten the attention that maybe they they deserve.

Yeah, I think, you know, there’s been a lot of focus over the last, you know, year let’s call it on, on investing in and creating funds or programs for underrepresented founders, and even more specifically for black founders. You know, I don’t know that a lot of those initiatives that just launched last year, so say around the time that that George Floyd was killed, I don’t know that they have done exactly what they purported to do. But when I when I decided to start cake ventures, I sort of went back in my portfolio, and I ran the numbers on, on, you know, women and underrepresented founders. And I was pleasantly surprised that I, over 50% of the deals that I had done have been in women led companies, and 60% of the, the founders that I have backed were underrepresented in some way. And so that when I ran the numbers, it was black Latinx LGBTQ women or veteran status. And I think and that was without trying, right, I didn’t go out and say I’m only going to invest in this type of founder. But I think what happens is when you change who has the ability and the authority to write checks, change the types of founders you get. And so I think one of the keys is having more diverse, you know, diverse VCs, having a seat at the table, right, or create being having the ability to create their own funds, and direct those in the ways that they that they choose to. So while there is no direct diversity mandate, around cake ventures, I think that, you know, my network, and my, my previous experience, and backing of an underrepresented founders sort of speaks to itself and speaks for itself. And, and I think the layers of the cake, also lend themselves to attracting founders who are working on those specific problems, especially, I expect there to be a lot of women founders who are working on companies that will, you know, that gets a billion dollar outcomes based on a mostly female user base, right. I think the Bumble IPO showed that that can be really successful. I think there are lots of public market examples of that being a winning thesis. And you know, on the third layer of the cake, I expect that there will be a lot of founders of color of some sort, who are working on, you know, interesting products that touch the lives of people of color, right. And consumers of color have been driving culture online for a very long time. And you know, you look at you look at Tick Tock right, and you will get every challenge that goes viral, or you look at the growth of clubhouse right, and you can certainly see that that people Color, consumers of color have definitely driven the growth on on a lot of these platforms.

Yeah, I mean, your point earlier in the interview about, you know, people investment in what they know, and, and you know that the older white gentleman that invests that are technical, you know, are probably finding a lot of young folks that look like them, or you mentioned their kids right there, their kids might grow up in an affluent sort of situation playing certain games or, or buying certain products. And that is kind of in their sphere. Right. And so, yeah, I think your point about changing the people that have the authority to cut the checks, is a huge factor in, you know, changing the ultimate outcomes and the businesses that get funded. For sure. Monique, is there a common thread between all of your investments, you know, whether it be the founders of the startups,

and, you know, I definitely consider myself a consumer first investor. So I think the the consumer experience of the consumer is really a common thread, I think, I often look for, for companies or brands that can be a cult brand. I think minted cosmetics definitely sits in that category, I think Jemez which is a direct to consumer jewelry company that I invested in as a scout sits in that category. So I am looking for like the next big cult consumer brand, right. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be ecommerce, it can be consumer social, it can be, you know, it could be a FinTech product that that speaks to the consumer, but I’m really interested in how the consumer continues to interact with, with technology, in many different categories across many different categories. Or occasionally, you know, what is building out the backbone of those industries? Right? What are what what are the b2b products that are building the bones of those industries? So I think that is the common thread is really thinking about and understanding the voice of the consumer and and how do you build coat brands in each of these categories? You know, I consider cake. You know, you know, I’m always asking myself, how do I build a coat brand and venture capital? Right. And so the Colt brand is is probably the the long running theme.

Do you have? Do you have any plans in place? Or any initiatives or projects to elevate cake to becoming this cold, cold brand?

I do? I do. I will let you know. Oh,

come on. Give us a hint.

I do. I mean, I think, look, I think one of the things that I think a lot about how do you how do you build new net new entrepreneurs. And I think that there’s one of the things that got me into entrepreneurship is having the ability in the space to be able to tinker and work on things that that were interesting to me. And I think, how about how do we enable people, often young entrepreneurs, the ability to tinker on something, and hopefully with the idea of hopefully turning it into a business Monday. And then I also think about, you know, the lifecycle of a founder and CEO, how do we help founders and CEOs become strong, stronger, and build long term founder led companies. And I think that there’s a big opportunity to level up CEOs around governance, EQ, you know, building and building a team, I think, you know, as, as we get as we go on, I think a lot of the challenges of founders will be issues of diversity and inclusion that will tank otherwise perfectly successful and wonderful companies. I mean, we’ve seen it happen over and over and over again, from Pinterest, to Uber to carta, right. We’ve seen some of these challenges come up over and over again. And I think having early investors who can who have a regimented and clear pathway for you to take in, in addressing some of these challenges early is really beneficial for founders. And so those are the sorts of, you know, real boots on the ground, things that I think will make cake, a cold brand as well as a few other things that I am keeping in my back pocket for now.

I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out. You made moneykey made the decision to be a solo GP, you know, why that decision? What are the pros and cons?

Yeah, I mean, I think the G The relationship is a very long term one, right. And so you want to go into it with as much information and being as comfortable with the other person as possible. And I think, you know, I have a great crew of investors that I’ve worked with at 500 startups or that I’ve met, in my travels in there were certainly a couple of notable individuals who I would have loved to work with, but it just didn’t happen at this time. Right. And so rather than have a shotgun wedding with someone that I didn’t know quite as well, I felt that I would probably be better off starting as a solo GP, you know, getting getting the investment and the funds off the ground, and then moving into, you know, the search for for a GP, I think you can’t force these sorts of things. It’s like trying to force a marriage, you can’t really force that sort of thing. So, you know, while I’m a solo GP, now, I don’t anticipate being a solo GP forever. I think one of one of the pros is that, you know, there won’t be, there won’t be a gap breakup.

with myself.

It’s funny, though, a lot of the institutional LPs I speak with, when I chatted with them four or five years ago, they didn’t do any solo GPS. And now, I would say more than half do solo GPS, because they’ve looked, first of all, they’ve looked at the data. And then second of all, they’ve seen the fallout from failed. You know, founder GP relationships.

Yeah, I think, over the last, you know, three to four years of there have been some, some notable firm breakups. And I think a lot of the LPS, who who were in those firms kind of saw, you know, saw saw those fall apart. And so suddenly solo GPS didn’t look so bad. I also think that the operational staff for solo GPS has gotten really good. Right. And so you’ve been able to see the operational piece of it become a little bit of a of an easier lift. Right. And I think that’s given a lot of a lot of LPs, a level of comfort around being able to back as a good seller GP. And you’ve seen you’ve seen solo GPS become successful, right? You you’ve got Chris Sokka, lowercase, who was famously a solo GP. You got simnel Shah, also great solo GP. And so I think that I think it’s become a lot more common place. And once you have some some examples of success, you’re able to an LP is able to see where where someone can be successful as a solo GP.

Monique, how are you? This is a challenge that I face every day. And I think about a lot, I’d love to get your feedback and advice and input on how you try and replicate yourself and scale yourself. You know, as the demands just continue to increase.

I wish I knew.

Me too.

I wish I had like a little machine that I could walk into. And then when you open the door, there’ll be two of me

for what you wish for,

but you know, with slightly less flaws in the second version. Um, I think it’s really hard. I think, you know, I think there’s a great series on on automation that came out of the substack automate auto matter. The a lot of that kind of, like just using Zapier and using a lot of slack and a lot of those things and making them work together. And automating as much of the process of investing on is kind of how I’ve approached it so far. But I think that, you know, I think it’s just really it’s really hard to completely replicate yourself and scale yourself.

Well, it’s tricky when like, there’s only one person that can fundraise snake, right? There’s only one person, at least at this point that can ultimately make the investment decision, right, that’s Monique. And then when it comes to managing the portfolio, right, the founders when they’ve got a problem, they want to call So there’s there’s a lot of edge cases and other things that, you know, people can get involved with and take over over time. And, and but it, it takes a long time. It’s, you know, there’s one throat to choke at this point. And, you know, all paths go through many gay cake and you know, in my case, me at New sec.

Yeah, and I think you know, I think that so GPS have to think about how much they can handle and so that will be an impact on fund size and on portfolio construction, right. I couldn’t do 100 investments as a solo GP, nor should I. And without, you know, an entire team work horsing around me. And so, you know, that impacted the size fund I decided to raise it impacted the portfolio construction, the number of companies that I decided to invest in the number of board seats I’ll take, so you have to be really honest about the limitations and where you can where you can scale back in order to leave yourself some room to scale up. And I also think, having great LPs around the table who can be on your IC. And, you know, there’s never any sort of replacement for you, as the head fundraiser, head, diligence officer, head sandwich maker. There’s no one to replace that. But I think having great LPs, especially for emerging fund managers is really is really a game changer. And I’ve been lucky to get some really great LPs. And I’m lucky to have institutional LPs, and who have seen seen funds like this grow and help funds like this grow. And so I think the deeper you can get, the more experienced you can get your LP bench, the better.

You’ve taken a really proactive approach to managing your schedule and your time. You know, a lot of people have come on this program and talked about how context switching is the toughest part of the job, you know, you switch from fundraising to managing the portfolio fighting some fires to making an investment decision or doing customer references. I mean, there’s, there’s just a lot of juggling and a lot of bouncing around, you know, can you talk us through kind of the way that you approach schedule and be in and how you’re intentional about it, so that you can, you know, develop some velocity in and, and be productive?

Definitely. I mean, I think this is my strategy has changed over time. And, and it’s always evolving. But the way that I think about the calendar right now is, Mondays are no meetings, it’s very rare that I will have a meeting on a Monday, because Mondays are set aside for content production, and doing things that are creative, and, you know, brand building for cake ventures. So it could be writing an article, you know, writing, doing some sort of video, it could be any of those things, but it’s always something that is content and brand related. Tuesday through let’s say Thursday, I decide that I’m not a morning person. So you know, let’s just put that out there. This is about as early as it gets. Unless I have to do some some call to like Europe. I’m not going to be on the phone with you at 7am I’m with you.

But mornings are ours are set aside for like the most high cognitive thing that I have to do. And often that is fundraising or talking to LPs. And then you know, later on in the day, I kind of decided at some point that I will stop that because my my my cognition starts to go down a little bit and then I can start to do things like you know, emails, helping founders, like the real tactical things that I can do that I need to do. And then Fridays are kind of open season for getting to know people. Fridays are very Fridays are a popery. People I want to spend time with people I want to get to know could be new founders who are sort of entering my network, and I just want to get to know them and want to talk to them early. And it’s it’s a fun. Fridays are like my favorite day To be honest, because you never know. You never know what kind of interaction you’re going to have. But it’s always, I always find that someone who’s really interesting to me, and, you know, helps me think about something new that I probably wouldn’t have had time to think about during the earlier part of the week. Do you seek out folks for those meetings or

those people that are coming to you

both, though, I will definitely seek out people who owe that I, I’ve been following this person on Twitter, but we’ve actually never had a conversation, I would love to get on the phone with them, and or on zoom with them and just like get to know them one on one, right? Or, oh, it’s another emerging manager who I haven’t caught up with, in a couple of months, I want to get them on the calendar and just kind of catch up and see what they’re up to. So it’s it’s a lot of those. Right? And yeah, it comes in through many different ways.

Alright, Monique. So this next question is called three data points, I’m going to give you a hypothetical situation with a startup. And you can ask three questions for three specific data points in order to make a decision, right, because this is, this is how it works, right? So let’s say your approach to invest in a consumer social business, with 100,000 ma use in 20% month over month growth over the past three months. The catch again, is you can only ask three questions for three specific data points to make a decision, what three questions you ask,

how much time is the average user spending in your app? or product? What is the number one thing that they do when they open it? Is it take a photo? Is it shoot a video? What do they do? Third, I always want to know, what is is this writing on top of an ongoing trend or some sort of new consumer behavior? And so I you know, the question I often like to ask is, how is the How is the consumer behaving differently? Because of this product? What new consumer behavior is, is being built on top of? Is it that people want to do cool dances? on video? Is it that they want to listen to people talk about things? Like what is what is the new consumer behavior that that you’re building on top of

money? What resources or advice, you know, would you have to give to listeners founders and or investors,

I feel like a lot of people probably come in here and like, tell you to read like, I don’t know, some great book by some stoic, but I spend a lot of my time consuming pop culture and, you know, reading about streetwear and innovative new brands. And I would for most investors, I would say, I would spend more, especially if you are a consumer Mister, I would spend more time understanding what’s cool in pop culture, and what new trends and what new influencers and celebrities are doing and saying and, and in showing their audiences and their fans, right. I think those can often be really interesting inflection points, and really interesting touch points for the ways that the consumer industry is changing. So I spend a lot of my time on on the gram on Tick Tock. I read a lot of hate beast.

I know what the kids are doing.


Yeah. So spend more time with talking to your kids about what they’re doing, and what they’re interested in. And, you know, I yeah, that’s kind of what I consume these days.

Monique, what do you know, you need to get better at, you know,

I the one of the things I’m always really impressed by in an investor is not just the ability to invest in a company, that the ability to sell a company. And so, and there, there are lots of investors who I think are great at that sort of thing like Kate Mitchell, who’s the founding partner at scale, David hornick, who’s now at the lobby, and I’m always just super impressed by the ability to drive an m&a

that’s what I want to get good at. Well, hopefully you’ll have some of those soon. You’ll get some practice. And finally hear what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you.

I’m at Monique Woodard on Twitter. I’m at Monique 360 on Instagram at Monique debt at Monique VC on tik tok, or my website monique.vc

Well, there you go. Follow her. She’s Monique Woodard, Monique, as one fellow gamer to another. Really enjoyed the conversation always have had a lot of respect for your for your mind and your lens on on investing. And I’ve heard only great things. So you know, thanks so much for spending the time with us today.

Thanks for having me. I appreciate this.