Riding Unicorns

S4E10 - Katie Marrache, Partner @ JamJar Investments

July 06, 2022 Riding Unicorns Season 4 Episode 10
Riding Unicorns
S4E10 - Katie Marrache, Partner @ JamJar Investments
Show Notes Transcript

Katie Marrache is a Partner at JamJar Ventures, a VC firm founded by the people behind the hugely popular Innocent drinks. Katie is the definition of a go-getter. Whilst at University she secured an internship with Dragons’ Den investor, James Caan, which saw her manage the entrepreneurs portfolio of consumer investments. After a short stint working in television Katie joined Innocent drinks as a category manager, which once again saw her manage an investment portfolio. In 2017 she made Partner and with it became Europe's youngest ever female venture capital partner.

Speaking to Riding Unicorns Katie reflects on her career to date, how she as a VC quantifies the size of a market and the benefits of focusing on product. In what turned out to be a discussion full of fascinating insights and opinions James, Hector and Katie also go on to discuss the trends that most excite them in the consumer space and the marketing strategies they feel are most effective when going to market. 

Make sure to like and subscribe to the Riding Unicorns podcast to never miss an episode. Also don't forget to give Riding Unicorns a follow on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep on top of the latest developments.

[00:00:09] hello and welcome to the riding unicorns podcast. This is the podcast. All about growth startups. I'm James Pringle. I'm a technology entrepreneur, investor, and VC at portfolio ventures. My co-host is Hector Mason. Hector is a partner at B2B investor episode one bunches. This podcast is all about uncovering what it takes to build a unicorn business.

[00:00:32] We speak to some of the best founders and investors, many from unicorn companies and ask them about their journey, operational insight, tips, lessons, stories, and anything that can help uncover what it takes to build a high growth business. This week's episode is with Katie Marrache partner at JamJar investments. JamJar is the former innocent smoothie founders VC fund and one of the leading consumer investors in the uk having backed companies like Oatley, Babylon, Papier Many Pets, Lick and tails.com. this is a great episode so let's get started.

[00:01:03]

[00:01:06] James: Hi, Katie. Welcome to the riding unicorns podcast. Thanks for joining us. It's all pleasure. So Katie, could you just start by giving a very high level of what JamJar.

[00:01:19] Katie: dumb jaw is the originally three innocent drinks founders fund. We invest purely in consumer forums, early stage. We've just raised office institutional fund of a hundred million. So prior to that, we were, The innocent pond is private cash. Um, that's four of us though. Pollen is having commuting there.

[00:01:42] That's really exciting. And you've got some amazing companies. So how did you get into venture capital

[00:01:48] Katie: So I grew up in Manchester then went to Oxford university. when I was there, I heard James Khan who at the time was on the Dragon's den and doing a talk about, his career.

[00:02:00] It was very refreshing kind of hearing from him. he'd left school after his GCSE is no qualifications beyond that. And, you know, he literally starts to business from a broom closet with three credit cards of debt. And so you didn't have any external capital. Um, he had gone on to make hundreds of millions, um, on the, had done notch of private equity verb.

[00:02:21] Anyway, I was just very inspired by his kind of entrepreneurial spirit and basically how he managed to make something out of nothing. And I approached him at the end and asked for an internship, which I got. So then I moved down to London, did the intention, the end of that, I got my boss's job in the private equity firm.

[00:02:38] My boss got promoted and it was a bit of a baptism of fire. So I started my career managing his personal, what turned out to be consumer angel investments. Um, some of which were dragons done, some of which done. So I worked for him for a few years, in his private equity firm. basically an associate role, alongside the management of the portfolio.

[00:03:03] Um, then I left that after helping him a few businesses to join the BBC. so there was a break in the middle. I kind of figured out what I wanted to do, but during the BBC on a 20 scheme, Trained as a journalist and in production. they then offered me a job on the one show, which I talked, said I was a research on the one show.

[00:03:25] then I, yeah, I moved around a bit within the BBC register. Wasn't familiar miss the commercial world, then enjoined innocent drinks on the commercial team where I met the funerals and founders who were angel investing at the time, not linked to my background originally. um, got chatting to one of them.

[00:03:44] And within a few weeks of that conversation started double hatting with my role in looking after that investments at the same time and 2013, they sold to Coke north of half a billion acts. It suddenly had a lot more time in cash to do what they wanted. And basically, we're going to even said, we'd love you to come with us.

[00:04:03] And so they won after leaving innocent, we launched John Java. 10 years later.

[00:04:11] Hector: that's brilliant. So you're, you're another, journalist turned VC, which is which, uh, seemingly interchangeable careers, thinking about the others that are out there in the, in the ecosystem, but I wonder, um, what's been your training as a, VC and how do you, how do you feel your, your, your sort of training up until now is, is taught you to pick those outlier companies?

[00:04:33] Katie: well, I think all my experiences weirdly have been relevant. I mean, the, obviously the stock, the kind of butts has moved fire at the beginning where, you know, I was looking after these businesses. Sitting on boards, you know, look at them from an investment perspective in a kind of formal product you contacts, which is typically a much later stage investment in the venture capital.

[00:04:53] but at the same time, managing these very early products with James, that was great training. It was like really jumping and right the deep end, um, Yeah, then going on to work with him on different businesses and kind of troubleshooting memos, he gives you an insight into operational challenges.

[00:05:12] The BBC was a great way of just, you know, being a really strong generalist in terms of seeing a lot of different types of information, being a potentially good judge of character, asking the right questions. yeah. Part of my job was to write the questions for guests. So you're having to read that bio, please get a real sense of them.

[00:05:34] Then have a chat with them, get them to open up, understand what to ask them. That's going to be interesting and kind of, you know, relax them and get, get the information across this relevant. So actually that weirdly has a lot in common with VC. then joining innocent, I was in a data science role because my degree was very.

[00:05:52] It's a very unusual degree, but we won't go into that. But a big part of it was statistics. so just the strong analysis of data, like, you know, all day doing data, uh, innocent is really relevant as well to VCC, that kind of analysis. And then, you know, for the last 10 years being jam jar, just that focus, I think on the consumer segment.

[00:06:18] you just start to see patterns, you start to, you start to spot things, Yeah. I think that has been instincts there from very early. And then that's kind of evolved with experience.

[00:06:31] James: It sounds like you've got a good mix of the art and the science when looking at. Nice. what's the one thing that for you is now a red flag that maybe wasn't at the beginning of your career.

[00:06:43] Katie: that's such a good question.

[00:06:46] It's really hard to say, because the truth is there's lots of exceptions to lots of rules. Everyone's different. And every business is different, even though they're all patterns, as I said, but there's more than one way to swing a car, say, you know, two great entrepreneurs can, can have completely different profiles.

[00:07:04] and you're learning to spot the patterns and. You know, the similarities within a certain context, this, these types of founders or people that over index on this, but it doesn't mean that everyone who's successful has to over-index on that. And equally, you know, gaps. every team has gaps. So you're trying to constantly kind of qualify how, what, how, what the waiting that you give to gaps and stress.

[00:07:31] but to answer your question, what is a red flag now? there was a founder that we bought that from quite early on. It seemed like he was being dishonest. but we see the flip side of that was that he was a brilliant salesman. and that was an example where we did the deal.

[00:07:50] Kind of knowing his strengths and weaknesses and actually his weakness really overrode the strength because it was very difficult to trust him. And it was, it was difficult for anyone to trust him. so I think dishonesty is a red flag, even though it can come with strengths is the truth. In terms of, you know, in some contexts you can't be really strong communicator,

[00:08:13] Hector: I think that's really interesting. The, um, yeah, you do, you do make excuses for why, why you can overlook a big negative in someone. And I guess the, the flip, even to that is that, you know, maybe there's another dishonest founder. Who's an amazing sales. Who does turn out to be a very successful founder.

[00:08:32] So as you say, like, there are so few rules.

[00:08:35] Katie: Weirdly it wasn't that he wasn't successful. He was very successful. It wasn't not, we just regretted it. We were making excuses as to why he was being dishonest, you know, or he's just so desperate for this. And he just really wants that and they are all reasons why he was dishonest, but it kind of didn't take away from his dishonesty and he was, did that didn't change.

[00:08:57] And that felt at odds with our approach and transparency.

[00:09:02] Hector: that's very interesting. It's like, almost maintaining integrity, even in the face of a great opportunity, but I'm really interested in kind of moving away from what makes a good VC. Just interested to hear, about how you guys think about, competition. So I'm just wondering whether you have a sort of framework for looking at competition or, or how you get comfortable, that you're actually backing, um, a company that can become a category leader rather than just kind of one amongst the.

[00:09:31] Katie: Yeah. Well, I think you said that, that, that we're looking for category leaders, in terms of the approach, I suppose you need to understand the size of market, which I remember someone once said to me quite early in my career, If you have to think about it too much, the market's probably not big enough.

[00:09:45] So really that shouldn't take too long is the reality. Sometimes there's nuances, but, market size then. Yeah. Who else is in the market? competition wise and obviously that's regions are very relevant to that in terms of us competitors, in some instances or less relevant to Europe, which is we focus on Europe.

[00:10:06] but in some instances that's not the case. So we definitely, we always do a competitive landscape review when we're looking at a space or a business, uh, late stage. um, if we kind of earmarked the spaces interesting, we'll, you know, A host of businesses in the space at different sizes, if it's more opportunistic.

[00:10:28] So there's a specific business that we're interested in doing, and we need to understand the competitive landscape. We'll probably meet a few to get a sense if we have time. but if not, we at least want to be aware of what's going on. And then it's about understanding the kind of maturity of the market, and barriers to entry.

[00:10:46] And then. Kind of contesting all of that with the business in front of you and their idea and not to you. so like most of you see it's a mix of art and science, I think.

[00:10:57] James: Yeah, it's interesting. Cause I think I've heard some other VCs talk about market size slightly differently that they've massively under estimated what the market size is. And I think, yeah, I mean, something like Uber or Airbnb, it was sort of created the markets as well. it's often so difficult.

[00:11:16] Is there anything, when, when you do get to that question of trying to quantify, how do you go about it? I mean, is it Mintel reports and things like that. What do you guys have a different approach and try and like you're on your own.

[00:11:32] Katie: I think what you just said is a really good point. And I remember once reading that Steve jobs said About the first iPod that if he would have done a market analysis, he would have looked at the MP3 market and said, no one wants this. so yeah, there's always nuances and things that are relevant to different contexts, but I think the key thing is which market are you looking at?

[00:11:54] So for example, we've, we've actually, Close the deal yesterday, that it's a completely new category. so in terms of market analysis, that all comparables, but the category itself doesn't exist yet. So then you're making projections about a potential new market.

[00:12:13] In other instances, the market isn't what you think is, so I remember, I won't speak to a guy that ran a cruise business, and I said to him, what's your biggest competition? It's moved to bikes, which isn't what you think, but because it's discretionary spend. So at that level, the customers on the cruise are thinking, do I want to buy a motorbike or do I want to go on a cruise?

[00:12:33] and that's not to say that the mood, the mood to bike market is directly relevant, but I think you've got to ask the right question of what market you're looking at and what competition you're looking at in the first place. And obviously if the market doesn't exist, then you've got to take them.

[00:12:49] Hector: I think the plot even comes from that because I think. You know, sometimes you could, you could find a market that's actually quite small, but maybe it's a billion globally, but you know, if you build a, if you're building a company that has the most insane product market fit and captures all of that, you've got a massive business.

[00:13:06] Katie: Yeah. I mean, I think in terms of penetration, the proxy that we use, like, if someone's assuming that they're going to get more than 5% penetration, we probably don't believe them. Not because we don't want to believe them and not because they necessarily won't get that penetration, but it's very unlikely.

[00:13:22] So I suppose as a kind of rule of thumb, You want to believe that 5% of a market penetration is big enough? I'm not kind of at the top end. Like I do need, you know, 2% marks, 1% is even better. Like not 0.2%, even better. So it's, it's all contextualized, but they're all businesses that get to where the really high monopolies in the market.

[00:13:46] but I suppose they're the exception. I think it is true that in most instances, these want a decent sized business without them having to achieve that level of penetration. But even what the decent size business is varies from VC to being safe. Like our hurdle for an accent is we have to believe that business can get to a needs to 250 million pounds enterprise value.

[00:14:11] I exit, you know, there's a lot of VCs now they're looking for billions and billions plural. I was talking to, if I'm easily, they're like, you know, we need 3 billion assets. Eddy business has to be able to have the potential in our minds to get to 3 billion. Otherwise it's not, it doesn't move the dial for the funds.

[00:14:29] It's not worth it. and I think it's interesting too. It's one of these things you don't necessarily think about as a founder, but contextualizing the return profile to fund versus the size of funds raised is relevant and the state sizes that they need. I can imagine it was very frustrating for farmers because it's like, you know, you can build an incredible business, a billion dollars, and that everyone actually would be very pleased with that.

[00:14:56] And they're not thinking about that. They're just like, you know, we need to believe it can get to this.

[00:15:00] James: Yeah, actually, it's a great message for founders. They need to understand that there's dynamics that are going through the VC's head. one thing that had to just set that was like, you can be. Maybe a billion dollar business. but then there are opportunities to go beyond that.

[00:15:17] And like, we look at it particularly when UK FinTech we've seen companies go very hard after vertical and then be really amazing at going horizontal. I think so Revolut is the prime example of that with FX and now offering seemingly every financial product, as an early stage investor. what do you think founders should do?

[00:15:37] Should they communicate that they can go horizontal in the future? Or should they just show that they're really focused on the first problem and how do you try and be lenient with how they're trying to pitch it as we're focused, but we've also got all these other things that we can do in the future. And how sort of sympathetic are you to the founders trying to manage that tight rope of focus, but. Spin opportunities.

[00:16:05] Katie: We definitely volume focus. as in John jaws specific. I think probably many other VCs do as well, but we specifically highly value focus. and that's, that's from experience as much as anything, like keep the main thing, the main thing a streamlined team gets you so far. It's like, when you're starting up, you're a little bit.

[00:16:26] you know, there's lots of cruise liners and there's all these other big ships in the sea. And as a missile, it's like, if you're spreading your three man team thin, and everyone's trying to go in different directions, how on earth are you ever going to cross the sea? Like just that focus of like, this is what we're going to do.

[00:16:44] And as you evolve, you can do all these marvelous things. You cannot on mass and you can go here and you can do that. And you can become a self Marine, whatever you want, but. A hundred percent, we value focused a slide on the end, or we could do this. We could do that. It's not going to count against you, but a pitch that is incorporating, trying to do too much is definitely off-putting because just on a practical basis, it's unfortunately less likely that the team will be able to achieve what they want when they're spreading resources to try and do lots of different things.

[00:17:19] Um, another really good example is. Innocent. I mean, yes, very successful case study, but in the years from innocent being farming techniques and accepting, red bull as a comparison they had one drink, red bull sells red bull, innocent, hot, you know, tens of skews. Red bull became a bigger business from that one skill.

[00:17:41] And it's just a really good example of you. Don't always need to do. Loads of things. Um, sometimes more powerful thing is to just do one thing and like milk that thing for all it's worth. so we value focus on simplicity of message.

[00:17:56] Hector: Yeah, I really liked that red bull innocent comparison. I hadn't thought about that. and I, I suppose, I mean, one of the things that I, Sometimes advise our portfolio to do is to, focus on that particular, you know, whatever it is they set out to do initially.

[00:18:11] And then maybe just before series, or maybe just after series a sometime around then just to run some experiments in like a new product or a new geography or something, just not put a whole lot of resource into it, but. Th there is this whole other massive thing that we can do so that it's not just a slide at the back of the deck.

[00:18:31] but it's actually like we've started to experiment because I think one of the things that we've definitely seen is, common between a lot of the most successful founders is, is their ability to experiment and how effectively they experiment.

[00:18:44] so yeah, so we do we talk about.

[00:18:46] Katie: Yeah, that was really interesting. I'm definitely innovation is a key element of entrepreneurship, but I think it's about the importance that. To that in the pitch. I'm not in your baseline plan because experimentation is one thing and R and D, but you still want a core business that kind of affords you the ability to do the experimentation.

[00:19:08] And, the ideal growth is built on top of strong foundations. It's not a pivot. You can have successful pivots, but it's not the ideal terms of the fastest way to grow is to build, an effort. You need a strong foundation. So being clear what your foundation is, that's not say don't experiment at certain points in time.

[00:19:32] you know, the reality is when you're pitching a business. Anyway, the investor is only ever going to know a slice of the business. However big that slice is. And however broad it is, how on earth can an investor knew the business in the same way as you who's in it day to day, I've been running it for a year plus typically.

[00:19:49] so because of that, it's about prioritizing what. Tell investors, um, the story that you're giving them.

[00:19:58] James: I think that's what we're talking about here. Isn't it, it's like staying focused with the pitch. It's great to have all these other things that you can do, and you can be a really good experiment to try and stay focused on the page. But we also at followers, investors of. Questioning founders on my author, annual revenue per user for this thing, everyone hears, well, how are you going to increase that?

[00:20:21] And then they'll have one investor cool. When someone asks that, so then they go away and create a whole document. Are they going to increase off it? And then they go to the next investor in the, and they just go stay focused on the core business. I don't want to hear about that stuff yet. Like, it's so hard for founders to get the balance, right.

[00:20:37] Katie: It is hard and also different investors value different things. And that's even within one venture house, like, you know, there might be different partners that care about different things. So I think, It's hard for founders. And I think it shows how prepared you have to be for a fundraise because you potentially need all manner of materials.

[00:20:58] the best thing to do if possible, I think is. Up from prepare a full breadth of materials. And then that allows you to keep the speed and pace. And then as, and when people offer specific things, you have them to hand, you don't have to share everything with everyone. but it is inevitable that you all going to get different requests from different people.

[00:21:20] Hector: very interesting and hopefully valuable for listeners to hear about what investors want to want to see. And, um, I guess the outcome is that. Eventually, they're going to have to show everything if they speak to enough investors, but I'm just kinda zooming out of that conversation a little bit.

[00:21:35] I would love to hear kind of what you're seeing in the consumer space. Any, any trends that you're excited about? I mean, What, what are the, what are the big new things that you're excited about?

[00:21:45] Katie: I mean, I think there's areas that are probably a bit more than to mentioned, but the reality is that they already interesting because we're still just scratching the surface, for example, of like, you know, meat, replacements, dairy replacements, you know, we've been talking about this for months, if not years, but we're still right at the beginning of that journey in terms of what can be grown in a lab, the taste of things like.

[00:22:07] that is a huge, huge area of interest. And that is going to be part of the future of mankind. It feels. And, you know, once hearing the Uber founder, he started UberEATS because he thought, what else do people do every day, a few times a day, apart from travel eat. It's like, there's not, there's not many things.

[00:22:29] That's what I mean before as well about size of markets. Like you don't even have to think about that in terms of the potential size of market is absolutely enormous. so that's a really interesting area. Within FinTech. I think mortgages where right at the beginning, like, it's really interesting.

[00:22:46] I was focusing on consumer in terms of, there's a kind of common senseless to, to consumer that sometimes maybe isn't there in more, B to B type analysis. Within the context of continuous. Like if you just on the back of a handkerchief kind of less down in a human's lifetime, what are their biggest spends mortgage is right up there.

[00:23:08] Um, it's something that happens in many cases repeatedly across a lifetime. it's just a huge area of spend that was still really at the beginning in terms of the digitization of that. and I mean, not behind the scenes, as well as the consumer experience, like, you know, there's already a few startups in this space and, you know, we've bumped down home, I'm Ang and Q, which is a couple of them, but I think there's huge potential in that space and it's an enormous market.

[00:23:30] Hector: just on that, point. We kind of touched on earlier with talking about judge a character, but I think understanding people is an extension of what you're, what you're just speaking about there and being able to do kind of back of envelope, calculations on whether the need is there.

[00:23:43] So yeah, I th I think it's a really, I think it's a really important point, but yeah, I mean the mortgages stuff, fascinating. What's going to happen. What's going to happen to mortgages.

[00:23:51] Katie: I think the backend of mortgages will increasingly become streamlined digitally. Like if you look at the system, The mortgage industry is using that they're literally anarchic. I'm not all segmented. They don't flow into each other and there's no sharing of data. It's actually madness.

[00:24:08] so I think that end there'll be a lot of change. And then at the front end, the way that people get mortgage, I think will completely change. as in, you would expect the process to be entirely digital, um, at least as an option for people.

[00:24:22] James: If you just look at millennials, uh, sort of happy to do it a bit the old way, what gen Z when they come through to get them. There's no way they're going to pick up a phone and call a mortgage advisor. Just know they're going to download an app and they're going to go bang, bang, bang. There's my mortgage in principle.

[00:24:42] It's already integrated with the platform that I found the thing on and everything, you know, it's going to change so much. I completely.

[00:24:49] Katie: Seen disruption at the beginning stages of how you find a house, but there's going to be more and more disruption there as well. and in terms of like how you find what you pay, what you find, whether you combine the first place. You know, that's we see so many started trying to solve the problem of home and yet, but that is a real problem for people.

[00:25:13] James: Yeah, it's. One to solve because, there are so many different ways to get a mortgage. Now, whether it be equity release from your parents alone, from your parents, you don't have parents with money, you can't do that sort of thing. Then you've got first time buyers and you've got people who bought something first time, but actually they need a mortgage.

[00:25:35] Like it's so complicated. There isn't really a one size fit. So, and we, we looked at a load of companies at my last fund. one of the partners would go I'd use that. And then another partner go. I'd never used that. It's like, there's no continuous parity on what, who would use what?

[00:25:52] And that's tricky.

[00:25:54] Katie: yeah, I mean the, going back to the question as well of trends, as you can see where we're pretty set for an osteo within consumers. So there's lots of different trends you try, but you know, the humanization of pets is a really interesting trend. We're right at the beginning of that as well, in terms of.

[00:26:09] You know, it's like a really interesting business the other day, it's doing pet vitamins. It's like PA wearables that people spend so much on their packs. There's an emotional connection to pets that can be really underestimated. yeah, one of the businesses we've bought in the past was tails.com. and I remember when we did due diligence on it, I spoke to the CEO of pets at home and I was like, you know, you can just hit.

[00:26:29] And the demographic is that for this kind of thing, it's personalized pet food. And he was like, listen, Pets at home. We asked two things in terms of could they be a potential customer of pets at home? And it's nothing to do with income. It's nothing to do. Background number long. Did they say goodnight to their pat before bed?

[00:26:45] Number two, do they sign that Christmas card from that, pat? that says it all in terms of the way people feel about their pets. And, yeah, I think there's lots of interesting pet opportunities as well. Digitalization of health. I mean, there's this stuff in that.

[00:27:03] Hector: there's kind of an interesting common thread between all of that, which is slightly, that is kind of like the market's been there for a long time, but it's so often a timing issue, right. 10 years ago, maybe a few people bought Christmas presents that pat, so bought a house, you know, it was getting more and more extreme, but then it gets into the, into the mainstream.

[00:27:30] And, and then, you know, just before that, hopefully you want to jump on as a VC onto the companies, who are going to be kind of leading, leading that category. So, I mean, it's so often a timing issue as well. I mean, so many great businesses founded by great people failed because they were five, 10 years too early.

[00:27:45] Katie: Yeah. Yeah. Timing. Timing is incredibly important. It's one of all key criteria.

[00:27:52] James: I think we're all asking the same question. Who's doing mortgages for pets.

[00:27:58] Katie: Exactly.

[00:27:59] Hector: the other thing I'm particularly interested in, in consumer is, go to market and how people market their product. I wonder what some of the clever, maybe hacky, maybe scalable ways that you've seen consumer brands, reaching the mass market, lots of customers.

[00:28:17] Katie: I mean, it's probably really obvious, but like having an omni-channel approach, I think it's more and more the norm, but it's still underestimated just like you fitting. It can be actually really cheap. some. Not always possible, depending on how digital the businesses, but coming really cheap, recommend a friend, such an obvious, like it's been around forever strategy, but you wouldn't, that is such a low hanging fruit for people to try.

[00:28:47] and it's amazing how often it's just not tried for a very long time and sometimes it doesn't work, but. and interestingly, if you have a business, people are passionate about as long as there's not kind of privacy issues, for whatever reason, it works particularly well because people wants to tell their friends about it and encouraging them to do so can just be really useful.

[00:29:10] funnily enough, like one of our businesses was really covered about Trustpilot. they've kind of, they found product market fit. They were confident in the product, but even then they were very careful. They always ask for a review. um, when it was a positive review, they would then say, do you want to upload this to Trustpilot?

[00:29:31] And it was like a one click thing. And as a result, they got loads and loads of really positive reviews on trust pilot. It was just really useful for them when people Googled them and they were, it wasn't just Trustpilot, but they were very, very conscious of positive reviews, even from a small base. And that really helped them, I think, to get notice, um, it helped conversion, and it was free as then.

[00:29:54] It was just kind of using the customers that they already had better.

[00:29:58] Hector: that's super smart. It's using the tools available to you. It also points to the, problems with something about Trustpilot where, you go on Trustpilot and you come across a product that you think this isn't that good. It's got like five star reviews and like someone thinks something.

[00:30:13] Katie: But it's amazing how often founders aren't conscious of what's publicly out there about them when they're raising. You know, sometimes you'll see these terrible product reviews, which in some instances can't be helped, especially at an early stage because you're going to get problems. But at the same time, sometimes it's just not managed well at all.

[00:30:31] I think it's good to be conscious of it for consumers and also for investors.

[00:30:35] James: Definitely we're starting to see more kind of Trustpilot comparisons and NPS scores and things like that. Come in founders debts as they, they maybe do become a little bit more aware of it, but it's, it's still something that some founders have a bit of a blind spot towards.

[00:30:51] Katie: it's really funny on to say, but. The name of the business is a really untapped marketing resource that people don't really think about, but it's a free thing to name your business. And if you get it right, it can be a gift that keeps on giving for the rest of the business's life.

[00:31:12] Like it can be the kind of TONE brand. Like the kind of ethos of the entire business can be in the name. And I think of it as a piece of free marketing and people don't use it. but like how memorable is it? How relevant is it? How, How easy is it to use an isolation? Like, you know, when you look at some of the best ad campaigns, it's like Nike, just that tech, like just the simplicity of marketing.

[00:31:43] I think if you can really have what you do spend money on being efficient, you can save a lot of money, but like we had Facebook and yesterday, and they were saying to us that, you won't believe how. The little effort is put into just art direction of campaigns. So farmers will say like, oh, we tried this, it didn't work.

[00:32:06] Um, from Facebook's perspective, they didn't try it because they did one picture with a few variations of messaging. And they're like, like that's not really trying Facebook as in there's an infinite amount of things. One could try, but kind of understanding that. Really what you're testing in terms of imagery message is really important.

[00:32:29] Cause I think sometimes the obvious are just crap. And so it's like, that's, it's not really a trial. If you're trying a crap.

[00:32:38] James: In case, just on that maybe as a consumer investor, like how important is it that, that happens to you guys as well? Cause there's investors, you've got to communicate what this business is internally to other people. if they can't communicate it to you as an investor, presumably you feel a little bit concerned that they can't communicates it to that target audience.

[00:32:56] So like how important is that piece? When you're considering investment? You're like, oh, the market's going to get there straight away because we get it straight away.

[00:33:04] Katie: Yeah, no, it's really important. it's one of our criteria on teams is, it's around the ability to communicate. What you're doing. I mean, just in the very basic sense, the most common thing was he missed out on the pitch deck is. But people will just start off with the market size and how they're doing it.

[00:33:23] And, but it's like, just what is it? And a very simple way. And sometimes you can read a whole deck and not know what it is like. It's very common for me. I'll Google the business and you know, that little sentence that first comes up on the Google search that often is much more useful than the whole of that deck to just like, understand what it is.

[00:33:42] and sometimes it's not because it's a really difficult thing to communicate. And that's part of the challenge. the ability to communicate to your customers and investors is definitely very important.

[00:33:54] Hector: it's been amazing having you on and we've learned we've learned so much about being a good investor, what we're looking for, what we're looking for in startups and founders, in their approach to, go to market.

[00:34:05] And we've had a pretty far reaching discussion and, couple of, sort of deep dives into certain areas. So it's been really, really fascinating, um, speaking to you And we, um, always liked to play a game with our guests and we asked them who they would ask to a dinner party. So who would do all three dinner party guests?

[00:34:22] Katie: So very funny mix, but I was half Rasputin because I've always been fascinated by. His charm and ability to completely change social class from literally being a peasant in Siberia to infiltrate the upper aristocracy of Russia. I just think that is amazing. And the amount of rumors that were about as magical ability to heal this, our some son and he single-handedly potentially changed the course of history.

[00:34:55] as we can still see his face. the such influence of Russia. So I think he would be a fascinating guest my next guest will be Moses from the Bible, because the ability to talk to God directly, his spiritual enlightenment, So I think I would have him and my final guest. This is the hardest one. Maybe like the newly lemon founder. yeah, someone I haven't met before. That's just that I'm just interested to hear from.

[00:35:24] James: well, it's definitely three original answers, which is great. So three points.

[00:35:30] well, awesome, Katie, thank you so much for coming on and telling us you're right. A unicorn story and yeah, as had said, this. Insight in there about how founders should be approaching and that's this and thinking about what you're thinking about. Um, so really, really helpful. And, yeah, thanks again for coming on.

[00:35:46] Katie: Thank you so much.

[00:35:48] Hector: thanks so much, Katie, for coming on.

[00:35:49] James: That's it for this week. Thanks very much for listening. To stay up to date with the latest episodes, please follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. We also have a newsletter called reading unicorns, which is another great way to get every episode direct to your inbox. Please tell your friends about it and engage with us on social media And we'll see you on the next episode.