What does venture capital mean for the design industry?


What are we talking about when we talk about venture capital? It can be easy to forget, amid the lingo, billions of dollars moving around and relentless disruption, that ultimately the field is just a group of people looking for companies to fund. Nicole Johnson is one of them. A partner of Forerunner Ventures, she has been at the forefront of some major venture capital successes. His company pumped money into a wide variety of brands that are now household names, including Bonobos, Glossier, Warby Parker, Serena & Lily and Outdoor Voices. . In this week’s episode of The Home Business Podcastshe shares an introduction to the venture capital model.

Nicole JohnsonCourtesy of Forerunner Ventures

“I didn’t realize how extreme it was when I joined the industry, but it really only takes one amazing company to turn the fund around multiple times,” she told the host. . Denis Scully. “We invest knowing and understanding that many of these businesses won’t work.”

Elsewhere, Johnson explains how Forerunner assesses trading opportunities and ultimately decides where to place its bets. Much of it, she says, depends on timing. For example, when electronics design companies started popping up in the mid-2010s, Forerunner looked at them all, but decided to let the business model play a bit before investing. Now that the dust has settled and a few of the once-promising early players have fallen by the wayside, Johnson has chosen to support online anime design platform The Expert.

“We’re excited about the house in general at Forerunner,” she explains. “It’s a market of more than 100 billion dollars in the United States. It was growing pre-COVID… Perhaps most importantly with The Expert is that visual social media has been such a boon to this industry. This has made these designers the absolute darlings of the internet. World-class designers gather these huge followers, but their business model hasn’t changed – they’re still only able to serve their small business wallet. It works, but it doesn’t scale with the masses of people who are now following and espousing these experts… [The Expert] was such a unique solution to this.

As for general market conditions – crazy inflation, wobbly stock market – Johnson is watching but not overly concerned. Its primary goals, as with any VC, are simply to find the next big business to fund or help take a current investment to the next level. “There’s a resettlement happening,” she said. “There’s been a lot of very exuberant pricing in recent years in private markets and a bit of calculation in public markets, so we’ll see where it all goes.”

Listen to the show below. If you like what you hear, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. This episode was sponsored by Thibaut and Hartmann&Forbes.

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