20VC: The Metrics That Matter In Early-Stage Consumer, Why Moats Matter More Than Brand Today and How VCs Deal with S*** Hit The Fan Moments with Jason Stoffer, Managing Partner @ Maveron
Jason Stoffer is Managing Partner @ Maveron, the consumer-only venture fund backing a new breed of brands. Their stellar portfolio includes the likes of eBay, Zulily, General Assembly, Allbirds and Dia&Co, just to name a few. As for Jason, Jason is the master of all things consumer education, e-commerce and marketplace businesses. He has been a Board Member of a number of category-leading consumer businesses, such as zulily (Nasdaq: ZU), General Assembly (acquired by Adecco), Common and more. Prior to Maveron, Jason was Senior Director of Strategic Operations at Career Education Corp where he saw the business scale to a market cap of over $4.5Bn.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
1.) How Jason made his way into the world of VC from the world of journalism? What were his biggest takeaways from seeing the boom and bust cycle of 2001 and 2008?
2.) Why does Jason believe that moats matter as much, if not more than brand today? How can founders look to create the strongest form of defensibility? How does Jason analyze the 2 paths for consumer businesses today; raise large amounts of capital and buy growth or raise little, grow slowly, understand unit economics and channels over time? Does Jason think we will see a graveyard of immensely funded consumer businesses?
3.) How does Jason view paid acquisition today? Does Jason agree with Peter Fenton. “there is a lack of free and open distribution in consumer today”? When does Jason believe that consumer founders should really focus on CAC/LTV? What metrics really matter in the early days for consumer? How does Jason analyse acquisition channel mortality? When does he mean when he says, “CAC works, until it does not”?
4.) Jason has said before that “VC is a struggle”. What elements does Jason find most challenging? How does Jason deal witht he shit hit the fan moments as a VC? Can VCs in this hyper-competitive world be openly vulnerable in Jason’s eyes? How has Jason seen his approach to hard and challenging situations in VC develop over time?
5.) Does Jason believe we are in a consolidatory environment today or will we see the next generation of mega consumer brands being built? When investing, does Jason ask, who is the potential acquirer? Why? What multiple is achievable? Would Jason agree with Kirsten Green that “Amazon does more to make the market than destroy it”? How does Amazon affect Jason’s investment philosophy and approach?
Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:
Jason’s Fave Book: 100 Years of Solitude
Jason’s Most Recent Investment: Imperfect Produce
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