338. The $640B Care Economy, The Invisible Work Dilemma, and Differentiation Tips for Emerging Managers (Julie Wroblewski)

338. The $640B Care Economy, The Invisible Work Dilemma, and Differentiation Tips for Emerging Managers (Julie Wroblewski)

Julie Wroblewski of Magnify Ventures joins Nate to discuss The $640B Care Economy, The Invisible Work Dilemma, and Differentiation Tips for Emerging Managers. In this episode we cover:

  • The Magnitude of the Care Economy and Why The Time is Now
  • How Technology is Influencing How We Care for Each Other
  • The Invisible Work Powering Innovation
  • The Benefits of Being a Thematic Fund and Tips on Differentiating and Scaling One
  • What Sets Unicorn Founders Apart and More!

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Transcribed with AI:

Welcome to the podcast about venture capital, where investors and founders alike can learn how VCs make decisions and reach convictions. Your host is Nick Moran, and this is The Full Ratchet.
Julie Wroblewski joins us today from Los Angeles. She’s a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Magnify Ventures, an early stage venture fund investing in companies that transform life work and care for modern families. Prior to co-founding Magnify, she played a key role at Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates. Julie, welcome to the show.
Hi Nate, thank you so much for having me on.
Of course, can you walk us through your background and your path of venture?
Sure, yeah. So before co-founding Magnify Ventures, I spent about a decade as an advisor and an investor working with foundations, family offices and high net worth individuals, some of that time was spent investing in companies and a lot of it was spent investing in venture capital funds. So I formerly was on the LP side. And while I was at Pivotal, I came over to help launch and build out that venture capital investing strategy for the company. I was seeing in the market, a really interesting and growing area for investment around technology in the care economy. So seeing a lot of specialization and venture and funds investing in various specific areas of the market or demographic trends, but there wasn’t yet a firm in the market that was investing in the role of technology and modern family life. And I was seeing incredible founders at the early stage, creating new companies in that space. So I had the opportunity to develop a thesis while I was at Pivotal, and then stepped up to launch my firm. My earlier part of my career was spent in economic research. And my actual first job out of college was working for the Federal Reserve Bank, so spent a bit of time in economic policymaking, which is a really helpful perspective to have in the current market environment.
Got it. After you identified the gap when you were at Pivotal, can you walk us through the process of spinning out at Pivotal, and eventually launching Magnify?
Yeah, so I was at Pivotal in the early days when they were beginning to really build the company and their investment strategy. And we were investing, and they still do invest, in women-led venture capital funds, as well as I was helping the team think about areas of investment that were tied to thematic topics, including around caregiving innovation and American family homes. So from a process perspective, we’re really mapping out a strategy to invest in both funds and companies, as well as innovation related efforts around caregiving, and I started with really landscaping the companies that I was seeing all the way from the early stage to growth in the public markets that touched on caregiving innovation, whether that was particular areas of parenting or aging, household management and optimization. So it was really that that process of sort of landscaping the market is where, kind of, I started and then begin to really build the thesis and spend time with founders and other investors who were investing in and around areas of that thesis. And I knew in my heart, I wanted to be in a GP seat and spend my days supporting early stage companies and founders, loved being in an LP seat, but knew that wasn’t the long term path for me. So I spent about a year, year and a half, really landscaping and researching and talking to founders and investors before I formalized the thesis and recruited my partner Joanna Drake to join me in that. And we initially established the firm, warehoused six investments. We had not invested together, so we thought it was important that we spend time investing as a team, both to demonstrate our thesis but also to build our own partnership and decision-making strategy before we went out to fundraise and ask others for capital. So we did that – we warehoused the six investments and then we went out to raise, did our first close and really formalized the fund after that point.
So I want to talk about the thesis in a minute because I think you have an interesting one. I have to ask, so we’re seeing the public markets crash, you’re just kicking off a brand new $52 million fund, has it been challenging is launching a new fund with current market conditions. Have you shifted strategies or tactics at all? Or can you speak to that?
Yeah, well we were fortunate to complete our fundraising before the most recent public market volatility, so that was lucky that we completed and closed our fund and were able to fully launch before kind of the, you know, slowdown that we’re seeing now. I think from a tactics perspective, we have already made eight investments and we are, you know, watching as everyone is the correction in the market. And of course, seeing deals taking a longer period of time to get closed, maybe starting to see a little bit of change in valuation, though, as I’m sure you saw, the first quarter data didn’t really see much change, actually series A evaluations were up in the first quarter. So we, like everyone else are really just, you know, watching and maybe slowing our pace just a little bit, which is in line, you know, we’ve made eight investments, so you know, we’re going to keep on track but, you know, be mindful about the changing market conditions that are out there. I think the other thing that we are doing from a strategy perspective is, like everyone, advising our portfolio companies to, you know, cut costs where they can and to be very realistic about future fundraising expectations, you know, given what we’re seeing across the market – so for us, not a huge change in strategy, but at this point, you know, really watching our pace of deployment, pricing, and making sure that we’re supporting our portfolio to manage through this downturn.
Got it. So I want to talk about the thesis a bit, which is built upon the care economy, how do you define the care economy, for those that might be hearing the term for the first time?
Yeah, we define the care economy as all of the time and money that people put into caring for each other from the moment they’re born until the end of their lives. So really, across the lifecycle. We are increasingly seeing that technology is transforming every aspect of the care economy and how we care for each other, from how we parent to how we manage responsibilities in the home, whether that’s, you know, grocery shopping, financial management, sharing of household responsibilities, to how we care for the aging. So that’s really how we think about the market as a whole.
Got it. And regarding the size of the care economy, what would you say to those that feel that the opportunity is too niche to build a venture firm?
Yeah, well, the care economy is a large and growing market. We recently participated in research with our partners at the holding company, which sized the care economy at $648 billion in the United States, which puts it as larger than the pharmaceutical industry. It’s larger than the US hotel, car manufacturing and social networking industries combined. So very large and growing market. And when we look in technology, the opportunities are really just endless given that this is a space that for a long time was, in many ways, sort of untouched in certain areas by technology. It’s only a pretty recent phenomenon that we’re using technology to manage every aspect of family and home life. So not only is there a big area of market spending overall, but this is also a significant area of growth and transformation in technology that’s really just beginning to occur.
Why do you think it’s taken so long for technology to find its way into the care economy?
That’s an interesting question and I think there’s probably many layers to it. I think, you know, first of all, we’re at a point in history where technology is just moving closer into our lives, and we’re just using technology in a much more integrated and intimate ways in our everyday life, right? And that’s just the pervasiveness of technology across the board and how we do everything, from how we operate our homes to, you know, how we manage our families. So some of this I think it’s just timing and where we are in history and the fact that, you know, technology development and innovation has become much lower cost and, you know, the factors that are influencing opportunities and technology overall. I do think there’s another element to this as well, where the work of care, whether that’s childcare or caring for the aging has, for a long time been invisible in many ways and not valued in the same way as formal work in the economy. I think, you know, in many ways this has been women’s work for decades. You know, if you look at the data, women are still doing a larger share of work in the home or taking care of childcare responsibilities, for example, even despite, despite the fact that you know, women are participating in the workforce in an equal equal rate in most cases. So I think there’s definitely has been a component of gender dynamics and cultural norms, which have played into why innovation and care has until recently gotten very little attention and funding compared to other areas of technology innovation.
Aside from the care economy, do you have other analogs that you see other venture firms approaching these thematic fits? Or like, do you have an analogue for the care economy that you’ve seen out there? Like some firms are just investing in supply chain, some firms are just investing in cybersecurity. I’m curious if this isn’t just something you’re seeing in the care economy, but a more macro trend overall, within venture and technology.
Yeah, I mean, I think there are a lot of examples, you know, if you look at FinTech, for example, and the development of that as a space with focused investors and companies and real rigor around metrics, and people look at FinTech and see that as a category within venture capital, we’ve seen that grow over the last, you know, 10, 20 years, as the opportunities have become more clear to investors, as we’ve gotten more sophisticated areas of innovation, for example, in payments. But you can look at other areas as well, if you look into education, and the real explosion of of ed-tech investments over the last 20 years. So I think there’s a lot of examples of categories within venture capital that have really grown and maybe, you know, started with a couple of firms and a couple of companies who were, you know, the ones everybody was pointing to as, as an example. But then over time, as the market size, the opportunities and really, as you know, courageous founders have gone in and built big businesses within them people begin to see them as as a category in and of themselves.
So we’re seeing more thematic or thesis driven firms emerge. Why do you think this is? Or what do you point to?
I think, within any industry as it grows, you get increasing specialization and expertise. And I think we’re seeing that as venture capital has grown so much over the last decade, in particular, you have investors moving in with specialized knowledge and expertise, who can provide value to founders and companies in a differentiated way, who can recognize market opportunities, and you know, growth within particular sectors. So I think much of that really just comes down to the growth of the industry overall, and the expertise and, you know, rigor that’s going into venture capital. I think there’s also another factor, which is, you know, there’s a lot of capital in the market these days. And, you know, founders, many founders really want investors around the table who can not only write a check, but who can understand the markets that they’re building businesses within, who can help them bring in customers, help them, you know, build partnerships, help them recruit talent. And I think there’s a real competitive advantage sometimes when you are a thematic, or domain focused investor in your ability to do that.
So that’s a good segue into this next question. You talked about the proliferation of capital and differentiating as an early stage fund. How do you at Magnify think about differentiation both to your LPs and then also to the founders that you’re hoping to partner with?
First of all to our LP’s, making the case for differentiation for us wasn’t a big challenge. There aren’t that many funds in the market with a thesis around technology in the care economy, they’re certainly in certainly co-investors of ours who have a focus in this area as well, so not to say we’re, you know, the only firm that’s looking at this category, of course, but we have a very focused thesis around it. So when we were fundraising and talking to LP’s, really the focus for us was describing kind of how we view the market and where we see the market opportunities. But as far as differentiation goes, that was something that I think people sort of saw in the first couple minutes of our of our pitch. So that was it on the LP side. On the founder side, we are differentiated and that we hopefully bring deep domain expertise and market insights. So when we sit down with a parenting company or a company in the aging space, for example, oftentimes we’ve looked at the competitive landscape, we have a deep understanding of the market opportunity that they’re going after and it changes the nature of the conversation and sort of the insights that we’re able to bring from the very first conversation. We then have taken a lot of time and effort to build out what we offer to founders after investments, so beyond the check. A key part of that is we developed partnerships with a series of thought-leading organizations, some of them are more on the research or design side. Others are, you know, industry-specific verticals. And we leverage those partnerships, as well as a diverse advisory network to support our portfolio companies. So one example of that is we have a partnership with EHIR, which is the Employee Health Innovation Roundtable. It’s a large coalition of global employers from Apple to Disney to Delta. And we bring early-stage technology companies in the care economy and family tech to a summer academy where they get mentorship and expertise from those employers, and then they also get a chance to pitch those large employers on their solutions. So we build partnerships like that, that give early stage companies exposure and insights that are very relevant to the areas where they’re innovating, and are usually quite differentiated from, what say, a generalist investor would bring to the table.
Do you think thematic firms will be the norm in the future? Or do you think generalists will still have a large presence overall in the venture ecosystem as it continues to evolve?
I mean, I think that there are, you know, of course, there’s going to be both right and there’s a lot of debate and discussion over this question. I think there’s a lot of looking back on how thematic funds have performed, for example, but I think this is changing, right? I think that if you in the current market want to compete against the mega funds, as a smaller/medium sized firm, you have to bring something else to the table that’s going to make a founder want you on their cap table or on their board. So I think it’s it’s a little hard to look back 10 years at this and say, oh, you know, this is the performance of thematic funds versus generalist funds, because I think this has changed and will continue to change. And I think, of course, there’s a place for both, and as an investor, it really comes down to what is, you know, your value add and your competitive advantage versus the other investors at that time in the market on the cap table.
Got it. So, within the core sectors or trends that you mentioned, how much of your and Magnify’s investment approach is identifying the gaps within these respective markets and finding founders that are executing on those opportunities, versus being purely opportunistic across these broader sectors? Is one of these approaches better than the other in your mind? And how do you guys approach this?
Yeah, well, even though we are a thematic, thesis driven firm, we still believe that the founding team trumps all right? You can have a great idea and if you don’t have the right founder or founding team behind it, it’s not going to be successful. So our analysis of opportunities is in many ways, not a huge departure from how a generalist investor might approach it – we want to see the right founder/CEO and the right combination of backgrounds, expertise and traits on the founding team, but we then pair that with thesis driven approach on where we think particular opportunities are in the areas where we invest. So it’s not an either-or, it’s a kind of a both-and approach. And we, on the thesis side, spend a fair bit of time sort of mapping out where we think opportunities lie in specific spaces. So within aging technology, and healthcare in particular, we do deep thesis driven research on sort of market trends and opportunities, and we bring that to the table when we’re looking at an early-stage company, but we also spend quite a bit of time, like everyone, you know, looking at the founding team, and really making sure there’s a strong synergy between the right founder and founding team and the right market opportunity for growth and big exit.
Is there a general process or framework that you used to develop these theses within particular areas of interest, whether it’s aging tech, or healthcare?
You know, much of it is kind of typical market research that you would do when you’re creating a company beginning looking at market sizing, key trends influencing the opportunity within tech, looking at the competitive landscape of companies both at the early stage, but also at the growth stage, and kind of macro-factors that may influence opportunities in that particular space, whether that’s on the policy side or in other areas. So an example of this would be within the aging space, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time recently, and looking at opportunities for new technology and data around Medicare Advantage and, and also actually Medicaid separately, opportunities. So a lot of it’s just you know, typical market research and sizing and landscaping like you would do when you were creating a company in any of these spaces.
Now, one of the advantages, I think, of being a thesis-driven firm, and building your knowledge base in these areas, is when it comes time to diligencing the team and the opportunity, you already know a lot about that opportunity and it’s much easier to get there. So I’d be curious to hear how does, how does your diligence process change? Being a thematic driven firm versus that of a generalist fund?
You’re exactly right, I think it makes at least the market analysis much more efficient. Oftentimes, when I sit down with the founder in childcare or parenting, I’ll sort of say, we can talk about the market opportunity, but you know, don’t spend half the time on that because I’m pretty educated there. You know, of course, I’m always learning things from the founders that we’re talking to, and I love to hear, you know, new data that they’re bringing, bringing into frame the market opportunity, or you know, if they’re framing things in in a new way in a particular space. But we do because of exactly what you just said we have to we spend less time on that, which really opens up more space for us to think about is this the right founding team for what’s required in that particular space, and based on what we know, it’s going to take to build and scale a new company in that area. So for example, if we speak with a founder who’s building and aging tech company and healthcare and has plans to sell into, you know, health insurance plans, we know going in what the competitive landscape around that looks like, what those sales cycles look like, where the trends are headed in that particular space, so we can spend more time thinking about do they have the right mix of talent on the team? And are they thinking realistically about the capital and timeline that it’s going to take to achieve those milestones?
Got it. I’m curious in the early days, how you assess a founders capabilities for what they eventually might be able to overcome. So whether it’s long sales cycles or landing a payer, how do you determine the level of risk that you’re willing to take on a founder with their current capabilities, compared to the potential of what they might be able to achieve? I’m just curious how you think about what a founder is capable of given, they might be lacking the experience within one of those really tough barriers to entry.
One of the key things in assessing that is, do they have an understanding of their blind spots? And are they trying to figure out what those blind spots are very actively? And what’s their process around doing that? So I think it’s actually at the early stage, a lot of times, you know, less about what they do know, but do they know what they don’t? And do they have a rigorous and structured way to getting to those answers? And can they inspire, motivate and attract talent around them that’s going to help fill those gaps?
Got it. Yeah, that magnetism is so important, right? And being able to attract customers, talent to your team and investors, right, like downstream funding, it’s all important. What are some of the other characteristics that you really key in on on the early stage?
Yeah, I think that just emphasizing what you just said, you know, ability to attract talent, particularly in this market, is so key. And I think that’s something that, you know, we think about a lot, whether it’s the CEO, or you know, other people around the table, are they going to be able to really create a vortex around talent that, you know, brings in a great engineers, you know, great product leaders, you know, great sales leaders, so I think that can’t be underestimated. And sort of along with that, are they thinking not only about what they need right now, but what they’re going to need in 12 to 18 months to two years? What’s their ability to really both focus on the near term and move quickly and be very, very focused here, but sort of understand what’s coming around around the corner and anticipate that is another thing I think, is really, you know, important at the earliest stage. And oftentimes we get, you know, so focused in on, you know, focusing on the next one step, but I do think that anticipation and ability to move quickly and, and build appropriately around that is also key.
So I’d like to narrow in and talk about one of the sectors that you’re focused on and that’s aging tech. It’s been debated whether or not now’s the right time for aging tech, and some question the appetite of senior citizens who adopt new technology? How do you think about timing within this category? And what gets you excited?
Yeah, well first of all, I’d say this category is very broad and growing. So a lot of times people talk about aging technology, and they think specifically about caregiving, you know, and getting support, whether it’s medical support, or other types of help to older adults who are either aging in place or in a long-term care facility, and that is a huge part of the market opportunity and we’re seeing great companies leverage technology to, you know, build big businesses around care in the aging space. But that’s not all, right, this is a much bigger market, there’s huge opportunities around building community, social experiences, for example, for older adults, there’s big opportunities in consumer to build brands that are serving older adults as very powerful and influential consumers in the world. So first of all, I think we have to start with kind of recognizing that I think we’ve taken, a lot of times, a really narrow view of what this space is and once you broaden, I think it changes sort of the the nature, of course, the time is now because that’s a huge and growing part of the population in the United States and the opportunities are really endless. So I think, you know, that’s an important starting point. But then also, you know, adding on to that, older adults in this country are a large and growing market. If you look at the spending power within that demographic in particular it’s significant and growing. So I have no problem saying that the time is not only now, it’s past due for investment and innovation and aging tech.
Given the demographic of consumers is quite different than your expecting mother or your more youthful consumer, you know, other areas that you invest in. How does this factor into your vetting process or your lens when vetting that team or that product?
It’s like any area of market opportunity, I think, as we’re looking at companies in this space, we want to see that they are focused on really understanding the customer, and I think that’s been done very poorly in the aging space. So we like to see, you know, good data around customer preferences, distribution strategies that can work, and that’s a big area still of a challenge is how do we reach older adults where they are, you know. It’s not, it’s not true that older adults are not using technology that, you know, if you look at the data that’s, you know, been disspelled. And so that’s kind of first of all, I think we want to see a real understanding of the customer, but also that there’s a lot of diversity within that; older adults in this country, however you define the age category are not a monolith. They’re a very diverse group, right? And so if you’re talking about, you know, 65 plus, that’s a very different type of strategy and demographic, than if you’re talking about, you know, an older group, or you know, a slightly younger group, so we’d like to see, you know, really good data and understanding of the diversity of the demographic and a very keen attention to distribution and marketing strategies that can actually, you know, reach older adults where they are.
So you already have one unicorn in the space, and that’s Papa. Can you tell us a bit about Papa, you know, who they are, what got you excited, and how that relates to that thesis that Magnify?
Papa provides non-medical care and support to older adults who are aging in place at home. So they’re essentially leveraging technology to provide family on-demand, bringing initially college students, but now a much wider group of workers into the home, and they will work with older adults on transportation, grocery shopping, even companionship. And they were able to show quite early on doing that helps to reduce isolation and loneliness, which is a $7 billion problem in the United States. Papa was very successful and scaling quickly across all 50 states, they’re in partnership with every major health plan in the United States. They’ve now moved into working with employers and are thinking about family caregiving more broadly. I got very excited in meeting Papa because it was a great example of a Founder CEO in Andrew Parker, who was incredibly inspiring and motivated and could really tell he was the sort of leader who was going to attract talent and inspire people to join him. But then also, he understood aging and health care for older adults and value-based care, and so you really had this combination of the right founder with a strong understanding of the market opportunity that he was building around. So that’s Papa, they are, as you said, now a unicorn. They’re a Miami-based, Florida company and just a really inspiring leading company in aging and caregiving in the United States. We invest in companies in aging technology broadly, and so Papa relates to our portfolio in that way. But they also, for us, represent a really powerful example of the way that technology can be leveraged to improve health care for underserved populations in the United States. In that case, older adults. We also have a company in our portfolio called Mi Salud, and they are leveraging technology to improve health care for the Spanish speaking population in the United States, creating a culturally authentic healthcare solution in Spanish in the US, and so that’s another example of kind of using technology to improve delivery and outcomes in healthcare.
Great. How do you balance waiting for that ultra special feeling, like when you meet an Andrew at a Papa, while also following a deployment schedule, right? Those unicorns only come around so often, and they do feel different when they do, how do you maintain velocity while being very diligent and keeping the bar high?
It’s a really important question, and I think you have to just be disciplined around your investments and have patience in waiting for those opportunities, and maybe leave a little bit of flexibility. When we were raising our fund and talking with our LP’s about our portfolio construction strategy and deployment pace, I always kind of caveated it by saying, you know, this is what we’re targeting, but we need to adjust over time as market conditions change. And I think that, you know, LPs who’ve been around for a while and you know, who’ve invested a lot of funds, they understand that you need to have that flexibility around deployment pace. So rather than, you know, being very specific around the number of investments we’d make in a year, or, you know, we provide a little bit of a range around that over a four year deployment period, and make adjustments as needed, and I think that’s just what you have to do, especially in a market like we’re seeing now.
How many investments are you planning on making over the next four years?
We will make 30 to 35 investments, so relatively concentrated, not too concentrated. That does not include the six investments that we warehoused, so those are 30 to 35, new investments, and we have planned to slightly front load over a four year deployment period, meaning we will invest in more companies in the first three years, and then you know, fewer in the fourth year.
Got it. You know, some believe that the best entrepreneurs start very young in life, yet we see someone like Andrew at Papa very successful later in their career. How do you think about a founders age or background as it relates to their potential as a founder and what they can accomplish?
And, you know, I think there’s this myth that you have to start young in life to be successful or, you know, the best founders and CEOs are those that are successful, young. And it’s interesting, because that has actually been disproven, I think, by data and research. I know MIT, Harvard, others, I’ve seen research that shows that actually, the average age of a successful founder is usually in their 40s. But still, we have this belief that it’s a you know, young, whizzy entrepreneur in their, you know, teenage years or early 20s. So I think that, you know, you can be successful founder at any age and that’s not necessarily true. And in fact, in the areas where we invest, we’re oftentimes seeing Founder CEOs with lived experience that’s inspired them to start their company. So maybe they were, you know, a parent, or they were caring for an aging parent, and that sparked them to develop a company that leverages technology to, you know, improve care. So I think, you know, we try to have a pretty wide lens in terms of age and stage of life and actually think it’s pretty beneficial to have lived experience to bring to the table. And hopefully, you know, we will see, you know, others who take that view as well, because if we just focus on investing in, you know, just young founder CEOs, I think that might also limit the sort of innovation and the companies that we see emerge in the world.
What is your stance on the serial founder versus the first time founder, regardless of their age?
Yeah, of course, having a serial founder and someone who’s gone through the experience of building a new company is incredibly valuable and beneficial, but I also think it’s, you know, limiting just to focus on serial founders. So oftentimes, when we’re sitting down with a Founder CEO, who maybe hasn’t been a serial founder and gone through that, we ask questions around how they’re going to bring additional expertise to the table – maybe that’s a co-founder, a senior executive, a key advisor or set of advisors from the beginning. So that they have, so there’s, you know, someone or a set of people who has experience building and, and scaling an early-stage company, so that expertise is very valuable. And, you know, we love to back serial founders, but we also think that you know, first time founders can make great decisions and be great CEOs if they surround themselves with the right experience and people.
Julie, if we could feature anyone on the show, who should we interview, and what topic would you like to hear them speak about?
I would love to hear from institutional LP’s that are investing in emerging managers and new funds and finding strategies and ways to do that effectively. I think, you know, we repeatedly see in the data that emerging managers have a tendency to outperform. And then we hear from, you know, institutional LP’s around kind of the challenges and efficiency of investing in small and new funds. But I do think that there are larger LP’s who are finding ways to do that to invest in new funds with big ideas, and I’d love to hear ways that institutional LPs are building strategies to invest in the next generation of venture capitalists, while also putting large amounts of capital to work. And I think that kind of insight and strategy is also really important to ensuring that we’re seeing women and people of color and others who are starting new funds, especially microfunds, are able to break into venture, create companies and scale big new ideas and important areas of the market, so I’d love to hear that kind of insight from institutional LPs.
What resources have you found particularly valuable and would recommend to listeners?
My co-founder, Joanna Drake, created the RAISE Conference, alongside Ben Black at Akkadian six years ago as a community for emerging managers and LP’s. And they have a great website, a series of events that really spotlights the next generation of venture capitalists and creates a space for sharing and learning around building new firms in venture so the RAISE Global Community, I would definitely recommend. The second one that I would recommend is, I’m a Kauffman Fellow, very proud Class ’22 Fellow, and Kauffman is a global network of venture capital investors. It’s a two year venture capital fellowship program, and for me, that community and network has been incredibly valuable as I’ve been building a firm. And even on a day to day basis, I have a WhatsApp group with, you know, 50 early stage investors and we are constantly asking each other questions and sharing advice and expertise. So RAISE Global and the Kauffman Network are two places that I would highly recommend to early stage investors who are looking to build their network in venture.
Do you have any tools or hacks that are a secret weapon?
I think, for me, the one thing I’ve spent a lot of time building out is my system around network management. We of course, use a CRM tool for that, but really thinking about how to scale network and how to build relationships over a period of time. And I do that in a pretty detailed and data-driven way. I have particular kinds of categories for different types of contacts, I sort of track in geographies who I’m keeping in touch with and building my relationships with, so I think whatever it looks like, having a tool around network management and ensuring that you are tracking and investing in relationships for the long term, so when you do need to call somebody for, whether it’s a diligence call or you want to call them about a co investment opportunity, that’s not being done out of the blue. But you’re really getting to know those people and they’re getting to know you and you’re starting with a relationship because at the end of the day, you know this is a people business and a business that’s built on trust and so that’s something that I think I’m continuing to put more time and energy to into as we scale Magnify.
What do you know you need to get better at?
I think continued prioritization of scaling myself and our operations at Magnify. We are right now expanding our team and hiring a senior associate, so as we grow the firm, you know, not just thinking about doing all of the work that’s right in front of us, but thinking down the road to scaling the firm and scaling the team and doing so in an efficient way that will allow us to not only successfully deploy and manage this fund, but to really build a firm that is able to grow and scale within venture over many years to come. And I think that will just, for me, require a lot of focus on, you know, scaling and efficiency and building a team that’s able to grow with us over time.
And Julie, what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you?
My email, Julie@Magnify.vc. I’m also putting more time into LinkedIn and Twitter and connecting with my network that way, so you can also find me in those places as well.
Great. Thanks.
Thank you. This was so fun, Nate. I love doing this. So really appreciate you asking me, and it’s so nice to meet you. Please let me know when you’re in L.A. sometime and I’ll let you know when I’m in Chicago.
Yeah, please do. It’d be great to get coffee or something sometime. And, again, congratulations with the debut fund. I love that thesis, love what you guys are building and I’m looking forward to staying in touch.
Great. Okay, thank you so much. Have a good rest of your day.
Thanks, Julie. Take care.
All right, that’ll wrap up today’s interview. If you enjoyed the episode or a previous one, let the guests know about it. Share your thoughts on social or shoot them an email. Let them know what particularly resonated with you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that some of the smartest folks in venture are willing to take the time and share their insights with us. If you feel the same, a compliment goes a long way. Okay, that’s a wrap for today. Until next time, remember to over prepare, choose carefully and invest confidently. Thanks so much for listening.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai