Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Christina Brodbeck of Rivet Ventures was recorded in March 2018.
Christina Brodbeck, Founding Partner at Rivet Ventures, talks about the firm’s investment thesis of funding companies that target the female demographic in its purchase decision cycle. Very interesting and under-served market.
Sramana Mitra: Why don’t we start by having you introduce yourself a little bit and what your background is? Then we’ll dive into Rivet Ventures.
Christina Brodbeck: My background is on the design and product side of things. I moved out to Silicon Valley around 2001 and worked at a bunch of small startups in addition to working down at NASA. Then one of the side projects that I was working on with a bunch of friends happened to be YouTube. I ended up being the first designer there.
The first two years that I was there, I worked on the site. For around two and a half years, I led UX for YouTube mobile. After that, I started getting into angel investing and also started a startup. Then, I got together with my partners to start Rivet Ventures.
Sramana Mitra: What is the focus of Rivet Ventures?
Christina Brodbeck: There’re four female partners. We invest in companies where the end user demographic is predominantly female or there is a woman-led market. We do invest in both male and female founders. Our average check size is somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000.
Sramana Mitra: How big is the fund?
Christina Brodbeck: We’re around $15 million.
Sramana Mitra: Is it all over the United States? What is your sweet spot in terms of geography?
Christina Brodbeck: Currently, we’re focused on domestic United States. We do invest throughout the US, but most of our investments right now are in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
Sramana Mitra: What do you like to see in this type of companies where there is a female decision maker in the purchase process? What do you need to see in terms of validation to be convinced that you want to play in that business?
Christina Brodbeck: That’s a good question. I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot. To us, a strong team is important. What I mean by that is having a combination of being confident maybe because they have worked in the space before or they know it very well coupled with being coachable. Knowing what you want and being able to take feedback is incredibly important.
One of the other things that we spend a lot of time internally studying the trends of what younger people are doing and in that demographic finding the areas that are growing but are still niche and how technology can help to make it more scalable. Another area that we look at a lot are areas where there aren’t strong brands yet.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s do some examples. How many companies are your portfolio?
Christina Brodbeck: We have around 17 companies.