Transcript: Paths to Funding Your Growth


Paths to Funding Your Growth


Wow. What a week. This is going to be, um, we’re super excited to be able to bring you our startup club members, an amazing week of speakers. And to top it all off, we will be streaming the PNG venture studio challenge pitch that will be live on start-up club tomorrow.

That’s Thursday at 12, 15:00 PM Eastern time. Uh, it’s just an amazing group of finalists. They have some amazing inventions that actually help people and that are good for good for the ecosystem. So originally I’m not sure if people in the audience remember, but we were going to be bringing you this live from CES, with Proctor and gamble, venture studio.

However, Omnicon had different plans for us. They blew it up. So that decision was made that the show must go on and that it would be virtual. So here we are. So I want to just [00:01:00] mention, and, um, put a pen to the top of the room to Forward slash C E S 2022. So there you’ll be able to see the full schedule this week of all day.

Amazing speakers and sessions that Proctor and gamble have pulled together for us to have these amazing panels here this week, as well as the venture challenge. So today we want to kick it off with one of our favorite topics here at startup. Funding. So on the stage here with us, we have guy persona guy over here on the corner is the president of Proctor and Gamble’s new business unit.

We also have right beside me, Sarah Anderson. Sarah is the founder of vault fund. Um, also we have Lil Roberts who is the founder and CEO of Zendesk. [00:02:00] So she’s a FinTech lady. And then additionally, up in the top corner, we have Colin Campbell who is a serial tech entrepreneur and owner. So calling back to you, let’s get the session on the road.

Thanks so much.

Oh, that’s great. Yeah. And I’ve had the opportunity over the last month. Really get to know the team at P and D G ventures. And let me tell you this, it’s actually been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot. Um, often we see large companies, um, and I used to work for a fortune 500 company. So I understand we see large companies, um, challenged with innovation.

And I think they’ve created something very unique here with P and G ventures. And they’re doing some very interesting things. And I’ll tell you if you’re a startup and you have a product that fits their criteria to improve customer lives, you need to [00:03:00] be talking with them today. We have guide Prisaad.

He’s a, I know 21 years guy you’ve been in Procter and gamble, and, uh, you’ve been responsible for leading the global operations of P and G his newest innovations, the brands, the categories, the technologies, and business models, while you’re an entrepreneur as well. Guy, can you tell us more about P and G mission and how you work with startups to get products to market?

And this, I know you might be new to clubhouse by the way, have a lot of new newbies. You start to take yourself off of mute there, guy in the right-hand corner. I’m definitely a newbie call. And because I just did, can you hear me okay. We can hear you perfectly. Okay, perfect. Um, Hey listen, just first. I just wanted to call him and Michelle, both of you.

Thank you. Because this has probably been the deepest engagement we’ve had with, with, um, you guys, as well as clubhouse, frankly. Um, and it’s been, it’s [00:04:00] just been really eyeopening for us. Uh, so delighted to be here. Um, you know, as, as both of you said, my name is , um, actually my, my parents are, or just to introduce myself briefly, my.

A small country called Guyana, which most of you probably have never been to. Um, just next to Venezuela in south America. I was the first person in my family to be born in the developed world. Actually, I was born in Canada. Um, this is I, I localize in the U S about 20 years ago. I was calling was saying, um, just over 20 years with P and G actually just under 25 years.

Um, but I do have a claim to fame and I have to say this because I shared this a couple of months ago in Palm Springs and it was well received. It is non-validated. But, um, I grew up in Canada. I started playing ice hockey at the age of five. I started skating the age of two. Um, so I do believe that I am the greatest Guyanese, Canadian ice hockey player of all time.

So you are not [00:05:00] just talking to Proctor and gamble is president of the new business division, um, a bit, but beyond that, I am here to talk about innovation and, uh, I’d love to get into it. Um, I’m currently president of our new business. Uh, as of January last January, and I’m chairman of a central fuse, which is a venture capital startup, um, fund a basic.

Fantastic guy, pleasure to have you here, excited to hear what he did for the, what you’re going to share with us about Proctor and gamble today. Uh, I have the distinct honor to introduce Sarah Anderson, who has 12 years of private equity and banking experience and has been investing in early stage venture for more than eight years.

And she is the founder of vault fund. And Sarah, it is so wonderful to see females that are building funds because as Colin mentioned earlier, uh, I’m out raising our series a and as you know, in the VC world, females, uh, get a smaller percentage of the funding out there. So it’s wonderful to see fellow females and [00:06:00] actually you and I are probably distant cousins because I see that in central views, you had revolution ventures in, and we’re a rise of the rest portfolio company.

So pleasure to be here with you today. If you would share with us, you know, what’s happening with vault funds. And, and what the mission is and what’s happening out there and what you’re working on with P and G. Yeah. Congrats to little and being part of the rise of the rest group. They’re a great group.

We’ve been investors with them for probably about three years now. Um, so, and I love the representation of women even here in the room. So, um, I’m Sarah Anderson and guy pleasure to be on stage with you. I’ve been working with the P and G team now for about eight going on nine years and it’s been fantastic.

Um, and I also am excited for what you are going to say and share. I work with, um, vault funds. So vault is a fund of studios. And basically if you [00:07:00] think about startup studios, venture studios, internal formation funds, the nomenclature is a little bit wonky, but these are basically founders that are creating.

New companies. And instead of being singularly focused, they are focused on multiple efforts at one time. And we can talk a little bit more about how that business model works and how it really kind of drives innovation. Um, but what we’re seeing right now in that category of development is just incredible.

Um, and I’m really excited about. I also, um, work with Cintrifuse and, um, that is how I know guy very well in his team. Um, at Centra fuse, we do a lot of work to help investors, corporations, LPs innovate, and drive innovation internally. And that works in a lot of different ways, but very pertinent to this conversation.

Um, and Michelle, I think [00:08:00] part of your opening comments around, you know, getting to know some of these corporations and their innovation needs and their pain points, um, you know, working with those corporations to help drive their innovation strategies internally, hoping to expose them to technologies that they may not otherwise see.

Um, that’s a lot of what central invest its time in and how we’ve worked very closely with P and G over the past few.

Hey, Michelle, I know you were going to tee us up there, but I’ll do that. Um, I just want to let everyone in the audience know if you are a VC in the audience. If you are a startup, you want to raise money. We want you on stage. Um, please, uh, we’re going to talk a little bit first to Sarah and guy, but if you’re interested in coming on stage and learning more, if you have a question for one of them, uh, you’re welcome to do so.

So please raise your hand now and we’ll bring you up on stage. Um, my question to both you and, you know, guy and Sarah, [00:09:00] you know, there are so many different ways that startups can raise money. I mean, there’s everything from crowdfunding, friends, and family, um, doing a private placement memorandum. VC funding series a funding.

It’s just, it’s very confusing for a lot of startups as to know what type of funding to seek out. And I was hoping you could shed some light on that. We’ll start with you. I’m Sarah. Yeah. And first a precursor, I think, to this entire topic. And you guys have probably talked about it before, but fundraising is hard.

It’s hard, no matter who you are and what you’re doing. Um, so, you know, one of the things that we’ve always talked about with startups that we’re working with is you kind of have to go into fundraising, knowing what you’re asking for and being very confident in what you’re asking for, because there’s always a lot of pushback.

Um, there’s a lot of questions being asked. [00:10:00] Sometimes they’re not being asked in the most diplomatic ways. And so, you know, if, if it’s your first time fundraising, you will really develop. A good sense for how not to take things personally, but just understand going into it is a very difficult process for everyone.

Um, I think as far as the type of money, the type of investor that you’re raising from, you have to kind of think about where you are in your startup journey. Um, you know, if, if you, if you were just developing an idea and maybe you haven’t really tested it, you haven’t really thought through it. Maybe all you have is a few slides or a few notes on a napkin.

Um, then that’s a very different kind of investor. That’s an investor that really likes risk. They like vision, they like ideas, right? They want to work with you and dig in and kind of help build and grow. But if you’re already at product market fit and you’ve kind of been through the cycle before, then you’ll have investors that are much more institutionalized.

And so, you know, one [00:11:00] of the things that we’ve always guided startups on is. Really know where your metrics are within the marketplace, because one of the things you don’t want to do is spend a lot of time going down a path with investors that are not, they’re just not going to be a good fit for the stage that you’re in.

So let’s say you have an idea that is probably family and friends. You want to raise a few hundred thousand, um, you know, you’re going to go out and then test it and get data around it. But it is not an institutional seed round, especially in this market. And we can talk about this market a little bit more, but institutional seed investors in today’s investing market, they’re expecting data.

They’re expecting, you know, a beta product they’re expecting kind of a lot of things. And so really understanding where you are and your startup journey and what stage you’re at and where your metrics are, will really help you pinpoint that specific category of [00:12:00] investors. You should be looking. Uh, for funding within this round.

And it’s a tag onto that, Sarah, which is great. I love the way that you describe it because that’s the biggest thing that I see with fellow founders is that they’re not clear on who they should be, should be looking for to invest. Right? So it’s all about knowing your audience, no matter what you’re doing, it’s about knowing your audience and was raising funding.

It’s the same way you have to take a look, a hard look at your company. Are you in the idea stage? Are you early day? And you’re really, you haven’t achieved product market fit. There’s a great article out there. I’m sure you’ve read it from pear. Um, the, uh, from Mara at pear and that is zero to one, right?

So zero is company starting out. Then you have to go out and get those early customers. And typically that’s done by the founder. And then from there you have to then, you know, duplicate and can you duplicate processes and, and then when you have product market fit, it’s obviously an a, I [00:13:00] love what you said about family and friends.

That always the best way to start. Early days, his family and friends to get those first couple of customers or bootstrap yourself right now. What do you think about timing? Should somebody, you know, is the timing six months before you need the money? Is it a year? Is it staged dependent? Can you share some thoughts around that?

And when should you move from pre-seed to seed and on? Yeah. And also with family and friends, one of the things we hear too is, oh, you know, I don’t have any family and friends that can invest, but you do. And like, and here’s one of the things family and friends is really just saying like people, right.

And people that know people. And if you look at your LinkedIn network or you looked in, you look at, you know, friends that you went to college with and you kind of kind of go through those different circles of contacts, you really have a lot more than you think. Um, and they write, write texts of $10,000, but you piece enough of those together and boom you’re off.

Right. Um, [00:14:00] From a timing standpoint. So it depends a lot. I would say the venture market is very cyclical and it has a big impact on when you should start raising, um, in this market. It is so competitive and there are so many investors coming down the stream, and they’re really looking for early exposure to good companies.

If you have a strong story to tell, I think that you can really get some traction early. So I say that, I mean, I think that the benchmark around fundraising, at least in my mind is around six months prior. If you are, and you should have runway, you want to make sure that you’re not putting too much pressure.

On your runway and investors look for that, right? Don’t think they don’t know that if they negotiate with you for four months, then you’re out of cash, right? So you don’t want to put pressure on your runway. You want to really give yourself some [00:15:00] padding. Um, and I think if you do get the sense of you’re going into a down market, you will need to back that up even further because in a downmarket, it just takes so much time to generate traction.

And, and there are some strategies in an up market and a down market, but the more competition you can create, the faster you’re likely to close your round. Um, so, uh, you know, six months is kind of my benchmark. That’s what we always try to strive for. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you, Sarah and guy P and G brand new division.

You’re heading this up. What are the goals? What’s the mission? You know, what brought this about with, with P and G to bring this to life?

No, we have a, um, we have almost an entirely new model, which I think can be a great compliment to everything Sarah’s been talking about. And I think this might be new for some of you, especially, um, entrepreneurs, [00:16:00] startups just starting out. So, uh, within my business unit, we have a division, um, which is called P and G ventures, which call and referred to, and our sole model and mission is to go outside in.

So we, we were created by two entrepreneurs, Procter and gamble, um, William Proctor and James Campbell. And then we, we developed into a huge corporation. Uh, things have changed a lot around us and as things have just become more fragmented, there’s just been an explosion of new brands and opportunities.

And digital has just changed the entire way that we innovate. We’ve realized. We need to give much more opportunities and voice to entrepreneurs and individual startups, as opposed to just what comes out of P and G. So we have created this ventures group, which is the entrepreneurial arm of P and G. And we almost exclusively are looking for external opportunities, founders, startups, entrepreneurs who have ideas [00:17:00] that we could then combine with the, let’s say the horsepower and muscle of, of P and G uh, retail, distribution, manufacturing capability, um, R and D know how to create something much bigger than either of us would have been able to do on our own.

So that is the model we have, um, several external entrepreneurs and founders that we’ve been working with, uh, and continue to work with. We have challenges that we. Every year, we actually have a challenge going on right now, uh, which you guys referred to. We have four finalists tomorrow on this chat. And the biggest thing that I would say is that there are multiple models.

So we have right now 13 about 11 to 13 different financial partnerships that we are, we are, we are utilizing. And it really depends on what’s needed for that particular idea in that business. Uh, and, and I can share some stories later, but the most important thing to start with in this model, which is typically not, we [00:18:00] would simply just invest in a startup or in an entrepreneur.

It would be more of a partnership. So in this model, it’s really trying to have a product that solves a unique consumer and our focus is mostly FMCG. So, um, you know, traditional consumer packaged goods where there’s, you know, it’s about 60 to 70% of the U S market and consumption, but only about five or six.

Of early capital funding. So we see a huge opportunity here. It’s to try to solve a unique pain point or tension area that a consumer has an underserved consumer, um, could be in any walk of life and having a personal passion and commitment to do whatever pivots is needed to make that product solution incredible and sustainable.

So you feel it’s a while consumers feel it so well, and you have some level of vulnerability. It doesn’t have to be big IP, but you have some level of vulnerability and then we get together and we figure out [00:19:00] what is the right partnership for that particular challenge that we’re trying to solve. That’s amazing.

What I’m hearing is that these founders that are coming into the ecosystem of P and G are basically can accelerate so much faster and far beyond what they would have initially. And it’s also potentially a different journey for the founder, right. By having such a strong backer, such as yourselves, um, to, to be able to open up the doors for distribution and logistics and many other things.

So does the founder also have the opportunity to have other investors or when they come into the ecosystem, is it that they’re here and they’re under your umbrella and they really don’t even have to worry about any other rounds to, to build the company. Great question. Well, and you know, it, it really depends on the particular solution and innovation and problem we’re trying to solve.

So I’ll give you an example that may help illustrate it. [00:20:00] So we had an entrepreneur a few years ago. His name was Mike and he was an accomplished researcher. Um, but had an auto immune disorder and some members of his family have had different conditions. I believe it was, there was some hereditary conditions in his family and extended family.

So he did a lot of work on trying to develop a natural solution, um, for some of these elements and what came out of that was a natural and boat botanical solution to help Exuma. Um, now where we ended up partnering was Mike, he came to us and said, you know, there’s a lot of quality control issues with this product.

Um, micromanagement is incredibly important. Um, we would like to make this. And go with full national distribution. Um, and we’d like to find a way to accelerate the development of the project and also put more R and D resource towards it. So we ended up creating a partnership together, which I won’t get into the details of it, but was, it was [00:21:00] one of our models.

And it basically in this case, um, there was no other investors. It was just us. And we have what I believe is a pretty lucrative deal for, uh, Mike and, and, and our other founders of the idea, as well as ourselves that could have a lot of potential. But, um, we, we do have a product now called Birdwell and that product, which we are about to relaunch, um, in a couple of months is going to have, uh, ingredients from that original formula and a lot of the kind of know-how and ideas.

And then the financial deal, um, as I mentioned, is pretty lucrative for, uh, our entrepreneurial partner and our. So that’s one example of a model and we have out of the others, we have, of course we have straight out acquisitions, which, you know, a lot of people when they first see P and G coming, or I would imagine any big company, one of the fears is, oh, we’re just going to get gobbled up.

And then, you know, where’s this going to go? We have multiple types of [00:22:00] partnerships now. And in fact, I’ve been involved in four deals within my unit in the last year. Um, and not one of them was, um, was an acquisition. One of them was an acquisition out of the four deals. One of them amazing story. And what I love about it so much is that the impact that it brought to the human to the consumer and by the JV or the joint venture of this allowed for this problem to be solved and to help so many people so much faster.

And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Right? That’s what innovation is about. Absolutely. And in particular, when, um, one thing just to compliment also what Sarah was saying, um, this is about like, you know, I’m, I’m an individual, I’m not Procter and gamble and I’m making decisions. We have other incredibly talented individuals that are entrepreneurs outside in the company.

Decision-makers and the personal passion. Of a founder to solve a [00:23:00] problem and really want to see it through, of course it may end up being too to flip it for our financial reward, but to truly want to see this through and make it great for the long haul. That is a big differentiator. I’m finding when we are, when we’re looking at assessing ideas.

So is, is this individual really trying to solve this problem? Um, or, or just flip it, and that makes a big difference as we’re engaging. Can I just double down on that for a second? Cause I think it’s so super important. What guy just said about, you know, corporations, aren’t always doing acquisitions and we’ve worked with a lot of really successful startups that are early teams, but they have these strategic alliances that are not financial, but it’s more insight based, more research-driven based more kind of like, you know, scale and development and what guy was saying about microbes and things like that.

But they have teams. Or even just an individual from one of these [00:24:00] corporations that studies this area, and they’re an advisor, or they’re a, you know, strategic, um, partner or whatever, but it’s not necessarily even a financial arrangement because what happens then is that sets a foundation for the quality of the associations that your product and your company are going to start developing.

And that’s a strong indicator to investors that this is a very high quality team. And so, you know, it’s not even a financial, um, it doesn’t have to be, I would say it doesn’t have to be a financial end up in positive territory facing right. I love it, Sarah, you know, it’s re at the end of the day, no matter how much technology there is in the world, it always comes back to relationships and, and you hit it on the head that these are indicators or signals for investors.

When they see that somebody’s a corporation like P and G is willing to help a founder with, with the problem that they’re [00:25:00] solving. And it’s super important, you know, founders go through and all, as, you know, all startups go through, um, what’s, what’s considered chaos at first, right. And then organize chaos and then scale.

And then you become this huge corporation. Um, if you’re fortunate enough that you scale your company that far. And anytime that we can cut time is important. So love what you guys are doing, Michelle. I’m sorry. I am so intrigued and just fascinated by the fact that corporations and funds like Sarah are reaching down into the startup level.

I think it’s such a win-win, but I’ll turn it back to you. Yeah, I would, likewise, I would agree and, and guide it. It’s amazing, you know, being inside a large corporation, of course we know it can have its challenges, but what people fail to see sometimes is the power to help these startups, these investors.

And it’s amazing that you’re taking [00:26:00] that knowledge and those relationships of distribution or packaging or, you know, chemical formulations, whatever it is. To, you know, really help folks like move their products to the next level. And I believe that one of your edicts, if I can say is that they’re eco-friendly and very healthy for people, so kudos to you and the team for moving that initiative forward.

So without further ado, go ahead guys. No, Michelle, I didn’t mean to cut you off. I was just going to share that just to go and maybe double down on one point you made that I thought was really important is that, so these, I believe companies, and I’m going to talk a little bit about the role also entrepreneurs have, but I believe companies have an incredible responsibility here having so much capital and have in creating access to this capital for [00:27:00] entrepreneurs.

This is a, this is something which I don’t think was a pretty big part of our economy. Even a couple of decades ago, maybe even a decade ago, I think it needs to be a critical part of our economy, our economy in the future, because, you know, w using myself as an example. So I, you know, I went to school at Miguel and Montreal.

I studied in Copenhagen. I had had the honor to live on four continents with P and G work in 60 countries. I’ve been all over. I’ve always been an outsider and I would only be here. I’m only here because I was welcomed, always welcomed by cultures, different from my own. Um, this is my third time back in my own home in the U S uh, so, uh, in companies have strong corporate culture.

We have a language we speak, you know, there’s there’s norms and S and we have, you know, you can feel like an outsider if you’re an entrepreneur looking for capital, and then you come and meet with companies like ours. So it’s critical that we, we open the doors to everyone. Um, another example I’d [00:28:00] give is menopause, which is, if you were to ask me a year ago to talk to you about menopause, I wouldn’t have a clue.

Meanwhile, we have millions of women going through this every year. Um, tremendous opportunity for innovative solutions to night sweats, hot flashes, um, uh, sexual wellness, uh, and a great opportunity for female founders. And it’s a huge win-win. Yeah. Who better than incredible female founders to help solve some of these problems and then release capital from some of these big companies.

So, um, and this is a space that we’re actually very interested in right now. So I just wanted to, to land that point that, um, I think we have a huge responsibility and it can be a big win-win that’s that’s amazing. Yeah. Guide you allow the startups to keep their culture like, or does it become part of the P and G culture when, when you do the investments?

Okay. I would say, let me be, I’m going to [00:29:00] be as vulnerable as I can here that we’ve got, I think, major work to do in that area and we’re on the journey. So we, you know, one of the things we’ve learned, we’ve learned three things that we can. As we’re trying this and we’re, I mean, I wouldn’t say we’re new at it, but, you know, we’re, I think we’re new on capturing and implementing the learnings.

So the first one is speed agility, um, flexibility, you know, we, we have to be able to move faster because I know a lot of startups and entrepreneurs are, you know, this is, this is a day to day decision in some cases for them, uh, for you guys. So we need to be able to move faster and we’ve been doing a lot of work to improve that I would say we’re not where we need to be at, but we’re, we’re dramatically ahead of where we were before.

So we’re trying to do, um, really shrink our response time down from months to weeks. And eventually from weeks to days, the second area is flexibility. So we’ve [00:30:00] noticed that some entrepreneurs and founders want more ownership than others in terms of daily decisions, weekly decisions, monthly decisions. So we want to agree upon.

What, what is ideal for both of us so that we can make sure we go in eyes wide open and holding hands, versus just learn through that as, as we go through the motions because we don’t want to disappoint. So that’s the second area. And then the third area is exactly on your point around culture. So we w w th the whole, one of the objectives that we have of this is not only a business objective, but also a cultural objective, which is we, we typically promote, um, mostly from within, I mean, we have tremendously expanded that recently.

So we have a lot of, um, individuals that PG now that are coming from outside of the company at different levels. It used to be that you had to start at the ground level. Now at any level you can enter. So that’s changed things a lot, but we are intentionally trying to expand and diversify our. By [00:31:00] partnering with entrepreneurs.

So I think it’s an acknowledgement that we’re not there yet because we do want to continue to evolve our culture, but we have a huge intentionality on it. Well, that’s amazing. Love what you said. About releasing the capital and, and really trying to bring in and support entrepreneurs. So on that note, we have some folks that have been patiently waiting, um, to ask our guests some questions.

So first, Andrew, if you could tell us very concisely, um, what your name is, what you do very short and then get right into your question for our moderators here, please. Sure. Thank you, Michelle Veritas to meet everybody. Thank you for having me up. Uh, so I made a duster do early stage venture investing. Um, did it more broadly now do it in the ESG and, uh, uh, prop tech with a state [00:32:00] tax, um, but still do a bunch of, kind of more of the consumer facing stuff that P and G is involved in.

And so I just got off a call, so I missed part of this, uh, all of these seem to be COVID these. Um, but nonetheless, um, wanted to just ask about how you view, uh, and guy and Sarah, probably both, because I think universally, you both touch on this and know it very well. How you look at direct to consumer brands going forward and partnering with the distribution and the manufacturing capabilities that that guy referenced.

Um, and, and where you look at it as the Mo uh, where you look at the most intriguing, or, you know, I would say less Looper. Like you’re not probably financially returned based, but most interesting from a strategic standpoint, uh, going forward sector wise. Uh, thank you everyone. Thanks, Andrew. Sarah, do you want to, do you want to kick this off and then I can complete sure.

I feel like you’re the resident expert on this question guy. Um, I think my 2 cents on it [00:33:00] are, um, consumers are. Focused right now on environmental change, climate change, health and wellness. We’re seeing it across everything, but they are definitely making a big shift in how they’re consuming and, and which brands they’re consuming and what those brands stand for.

So, um, you know, we saw it, we saw it years ago actually in Tom’s shoes. Um, but it has taken on, I think, a much bigger swelling. So things that have alternative, um, uh, goals other than financial goals are huge right now, environmental goals. We see that with raw theories, um, you know, things that are made from, uh, no plastics, for instance, and trying to get plastics out of their homes, um, things that are all natural.

It’s just, it’s such a huge ground swelling. I think that the era of synthetic consumer goods is. Is going to [00:34:00] probably go, it’s going to be weakened significantly. It’s not going to go away. I don’t think it will ever go away, but I think it has weakened significantly and we’re not seeing big growth in consumer products that are more on the synthetic side.

So I think that’s, that’s a big trend we’ve been seeing. It has been growing, um, and consumers are definitely making changes. You know, I’ll, I’ll hit on, um, Andrew the DTC point and maybe touch on DTC versus bricks and mortars. So we, couple of things, the first one is that the way this, this started was I saw tons of brands and tons of startups, uh, both internally and externally, just going to DTC right away.

And, you know, in some cases it was easier to lower barriers to entry, um, less infrastructure and resources needed. Um, and obviously a very high failure rate right now. I think the role of [00:35:00] DTC first needs to be super clear before we start, or before you start, is there credentialing needed in TTC? That’s going to help with a more national expanded launch is the subscription model needed because there’s habit formation needed for the consumer.

So in the Metrodome example, in the bode, well example that I gave, um, consumers do need to use it on a regular basis, like every day to really treat and prevent future flare-ups. So subscription model might make more sense, which is hard to do in a bricks and mortar store. Um, is it, is it maybe a product that is a little bit embarrassing to purchase in the store?

Amazing opportunity for DTC? So just having that clarity versus I’m going to go to DTC first, or I’m going to exclusively go to TTC because it’s easier. And often, oftentimes DTC is more expensive than having a DTC plus bricks and mortar launch or bricks and mortar only launched first. Um, so that’s why it’s really important to think through it.

We launched. Uh, we had an entrepreneur that had an, um, we are [00:36:00] interested in non-toxic solutions like Michelle was saying that really have a, do not have a trade off. Consumers are looking for no trade-off solutions are out on something good for the environment. Good for me, I don’t want to sacrifice efficacy.

Um, so we have a brand called Zibo, which also started externally, um, was a entrepreneurial idea that came in around a non-toxic natural solution for removing, um, uh, bugs from your home and, and weeds and things like that. Uh, versus having it be a big event where you have to put the gas mask off. So we started in DTC.

We, and we did that because we wanted to learn about the product consumer engagement word of mouth, but the intention was always to eventually expand into bricks and mortar. Um, and right now we’re in, you know, national distribution in Walmart. Um, and we’re going to be expanding. Dollar channel in the new year.

So it’s, it’s now has full national distribution, but a couple of years ago, when we started, we started with VTC and the credentials of DTC really did help [00:37:00] the full national distribution launch. So now there’s another brand that I’m working on, where actually DTC and, and bricks and mortar are going to need to go in parallel.

Um, and that’s just basically, because this strategic model and the role of DTC, there is not going to be, to develop credentialing before launch. It’s not a subscription business and the critical mass of bricks and mortar is really going to help to fund DTC. So I think it’s a great point, which is, I think the opportunity here is much more strategic clarity on the role of the channels.

And obviously DTC is going to be part of the model, but don’t default to DTC first, unless there’s a clear.

That’s awesome. Can I ask just a really quick follower? And this goes to my interest coming from kind of a marketing background. When you look at sort of the billion dollar ideas, the switchers of the world, and things like that, those just are not as common as they, as they once were, you know, back in the painted, uh, and PNG, I shouldn’t say [00:38:00] back in the heyday, but when there was P and G creating this, and it was not a DTC market, how do you think that new startups either externally or internally influenced those bigger products outside of the P and G ventures area and more and more kind of the strategic area of product development going forward?

We have a, we have a term that is probably, um, It’s already outdated, uh, you know, from, from the standpoint of buzzwords internally, but externally it might not be out data, um, which is the cornerstone of our model, which is, um, irresistible superiority across five vectors. And basically, uh, what we’ve we’ve learned is that because we’ve, we’ve had ideas since Swiffer, which was a couple decades ago, new brands, uh, which have accelerated very, very quickly now.

Um, so we had a recent idea that got to about 250 million within, um, three years, um, five years from zero and three years from [00:39:00] the first market entry, which is pretty big. It’ll probably get to a billion, um, over eight years now, the, the key factor, the key, um, commonality is always irresistible spirit around product and pack, um, communication value equation for the consumer.

So no matter the price. Is he or she are they seeing true value in the experience for that price? Um, and then, uh, go to market, whichever the go to market, uh, tends to be. So whichever our go to market strategy tends to be so on those five vectors, we’re finding if we get four out of the five of them, right.

Then the chances to go vertical on sales is very high. So that’s one thing. The second thing is it is dramatically harder with new brands. So, you know, I won’t lie and say, you know, we have, for example, our, um, some of you may know our Downey, um, to beads business, which is, um, on its own huge and tracking towards a billion, um, [00:40:00] that is under the Downey franchise.

So it’s much easier obviously to get to that kind of scale. However, it’s incredible. The pace, uh, truly irresistibly superior experiences for consumers. It’s incredible. The pace that we’re seeing. Um, you know, Zibo as an example, uh, we will, we are on track to probably triple the size of that business this year.

Um, and that’s purely because consumers are seeing that, you know, they just love some of the products and, and then the word of mouth travels really quickly. So I think that the getting the five vector superiority, right, does dramatically help the acceleration curve on the sales. I, I also believe that this whole point around, um, the potential best of both worlds between a big company and a small startup or entrepreneur is, uh, could be a magic missing ingredient.

In, in our case, we do bring a lot of resources to the table. Um, so [00:41:00] when there is a great idea, uh, we can typically take it to market faster and get to scale faster than if we were not.

Well, thanks for sharing, you know, just that it has to be superior in your five pillars. That that’s amazing advice for us. Think, thank you guy. So without further ado, we have several other people on the stage. Um, we’d like to make it through each one of you. So you have a chance to ask your question. So please do so, um, briefly as we have about 18 minutes left.

So Aaron, you are up next. Thanks, Michelle. Um, Hey everybody, it’s awesome to be here and thank you so much for spending your time. Um, so just a quick intro about myself. Um, I’m the CEO and founder of atomic industries. Um, we’re a [00:42:00] manufacturing, industrial automation startup. Um, went through YC. I’m actually an Ohio boy.

And, um, we probably have a little bit of common shared ground. I’m friends with like, when do you leave? So, um, I know the whole Cintrifuse crowd, but I’m from Cleveland, unfortunately. Um, I’m I’m actually here to just straight up ask for a partnership. I mean, this sounds like a really interesting, uh, program that you have.

I know that that’s not like directly focused on a direct consumer offering, but we are actually working on ways to accelerate, um, the way that you manufacture and get these products to market. Um, so if there’s any interest, there would love to have an offline conversation about it, but, you know, we’re, we are venture backed, um, have an early team set up and looking for partnerships like this.

We have about 13 others with global scale companies. Um, one other CPG, which is Colgate. Um, but the rest are kind of in [00:43:00] automotive, aerospace all over the place. Um, but it’d be awesome to work with you guys. And you actually, mark Pritchard, um, actually became one of the anchor customers for my first startup rematch, which was a market research company.

Um, So have definitely worked with P and G before, potentially excited to do it again. Thank you.

Hey Erin. Thank you. And by the way, don’t undersell Cleveland. I actually was there a couple months ago and it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s better than it’s better than the reputation. I think I would. I’m going to give a shout out here to, um, one way that everyone can kind of connect if they have an idea. Um, and then Aaron, I’ll speak to you specifically.

So it’s PG ventures,, PG ventures, Uh, it’s possible that column Michelle and they’ll share some information later. Um, we also have P and G ventures. I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter. Um, I’m [00:44:00] also on both so that we have challenges regularly. We have innovation fairs. We are open for business.

So I just wanted to give you that information and then separately, Aaron, thanks for the courage and definitely let’s follow up and get together directly. We’ll find a way to connect through, um, through calling Michelle and bill separately. Okay. Guy, I have a quick question on something that Aaron mentioned, um, have you found that being part of the Midwest ecosystem is advantageous for PNG knowing that you just moved back to Cincinnati and have lived kind of all over the place.

How do you feel about the central headquarters

guy? Oh, I’m sorry, Sarah. I thought you were talking to Aaron. No, no. It’s talking to you cause you just moved back to Cincinnati and I feel like just having spent so much time, there is a huge advantage from a deal flow perspective. [00:45:00] No, my bad, great question. You know, this, this allows me to share something, which is when I was talking about the role of companies.

I think it’s also critical to develop the local infrastructure and the local startup echo system. So Sarah and I worked together on Cintrifuse, which is a syndicate venture capital fund, and basically to fund a fund. So we focus on local startups. Um, and Sarah’s question, you know, it’s, it’s incredible to me, the opportunities and the number of entrepreneurs that don’t want to leave.

These Midwest towns and cities are mid-sized towns and cities across the U S to go for. And, you know, I love the coasts, so this is a no way a slight, but, you know, there’s many places in America that are great to live and work. And many of our entrepreneurs don’t want to leave, but need some level of infrastructure and opportunity locally.

Um, and you know, it’s typically a lower cost of living, uh, very accessible, um, great business community, pretty tight. So [00:46:00] we are, we’re trying to provide more opportunities. And typically these are smaller entrepreneurs, uh, Midwest entrepreneurs, um, that would like to be unicorns. One day. I have found it to be a big advantage for us to be located there personally.

Um, you know, many times someone from, uh, New York or LA or another country, and I listen, I’ve been, I’ve been around the world, so I can speak to this with a little bit of credibility, which is, um, if you give it a chance, It’s amazing what competencies can come out of it. So I like it. I also think that we have a responsibility given that we’re there to develop the local startup ecosystem so that entrepreneurs don’t have to leave.

And the nice thing is they don’t have Silicon valley disease either, which is astronomical, valuations and ideas. And they’re a little bit more down to earth. I think we are a bit like that in south Florida as well. Well, they all, I mean, [00:47:00] they all have their bright spots, so, um, thank you. Big, great question.

And, and I, we can, we can separately as well. I mean, we didn’t talk much about central fuse, but, um, that model we’re driving is around, um, having almost a co-investment between big companies, like P and G um, public investment. So some of it is government funded where we partner together in the community.

To provide funding opportunities and invest in local startups. That’s great. So talking about local startups, we have chat up next. Chad is actually in south Florida where the team is also based. So, Chad, what is your question for Sarah and guy? Thanks, Michelle. So, uh, my question and I’ll give a little background is if I’m ready to take on venture capital, [00:48:00] uh, for my startup.

So my startup is a software provider for returns processing for e-commerce players. And I have the beta product completely built, and I have about 10 years of experiencing the industry with my, my former business. And, uh, but, but yet I’m still early in the revenue stage of the startup. It’s extremely capital intensive because there’s a lot of API APIs that I need to build for one-click installs.

And I don’t know if I’m at the point where I can take in venture capital or if I need to go with a different route. And that’s, that’s my question for you guys. So from my experience, you don’t have to have revenue to raise venture capital dollars. Um, in fact, if you do already have even moderate amounts of revenue, then, um, you know, you could be beyond the family and friends round.

So depending on kind of where you are, what your [00:49:00] metrics. Um, it will do, but I think you can access the venture community very easily. There’s um, there’s a rising stage, um, a much more involved in active stage, which is called pre-seed. You probably heard of it, basically, if you look at all of like the spectrum of stages, studios is where I participate, but then right after studios, you have pre-seed and then it goes to seed and then you kind of have the alphabet soup that pre-seed, they’re not looking for revenue.

In fact, they are just looking for good ideas and good teams. And I think that that would be a really great spot for you to start. And there’s a lot of pre-seed activity in south Florida right now. I’m happy to direct you to some people, if it’s helpful. Yeah, that would be great. Uh, I realized, I didn’t even say it’s called returns easy and it’s just, the motto is to make returns easy and yet it would really appreciate the intro, Sarah.

Okay. Sure. How much money could, uh, accompany like Chad’s race with. [00:50:00] Um, you know, family and friends, we usually think of it as like a couple hundred thousand. Pre-seed usually it’s around right now in the market, maybe seven 50 to a million, and then you get into these Inns and it can be more, these are all super fungible and very rangy type of raises.

But then you get into kind of your institutional seed, which is more of like two to five, but we’ve heard of seed rounds like 15, the market right now is just insane. So let’s just say, if you chat, if you are revenue positive, you can easily get, you know, a pre-seed done. I would, I would put it in the seven, seven figures range, you know, try to fight could comment for you too.

Um, having been familiar with your business is one thing. I think that’s cool about it. It helps eliminate waste. Right? I think CAD part of what you do as, as indicative in your [00:51:00] company name is not just throwing away these returned items. You actually help to give it a second life. So I think that’s something that could really, you know, perhaps help you, um, when you’re going out and soliciting, um, potential funding.

Excellent point. Yeah. Actually chat. If you don’t mind me interjecting for just a second and turn everybody on the stage. Um, I mean, I, I do a lot of venture investing and a lot of mentoring too. And, uh, there’s a lawyer at a different point in life. Um, one of the things you should do is look at who’s in your community for, um, specifically some of the coworking spaces and then also the accelerators and grant funding, because there’s a lot of other elements that you can get capital.

That’s not dilutive, and it’s really critical at your stage because you’re going to need to raise a bunch of money. But you want to make sure that you have sort of that product market fit as quickly as possible. It may not be revenue barren, but it may be, um, you know, pertinent to the, the rest of business.

And if [00:52:00] you can get some, uh, other than friends and family, that gap between friends and family, you know, as Sarah was alluding to earlier, you kind of made know people that have $10,000 checks or something along those lines, but then that gap afterwards in the, you know, for the angel round, the pre-seed round, um, that don’t require necessarily revenue.

Um, they can be really additive with some of those connections that may not require necessarily funding, but maybe really useful to sort of scale. Um, you know, before you take in the big amount of capital, it’s gonna be diluted. So anyway, I finished that. Thank you, Andrew.

Oh, sorry. I was just going to add one additional data point because we just raised our pre-seed as well, but we did well over three, um, at a nice valuation. That’s not going to hurt us longterm. Um, and I do think that one important point is that, you know, after the pandemic fundraising has definitely gone global.

So, you know, you don’t have to restrict yourself to any [00:53:00] particular geo or region for investing. Um, just some important thing to keep in mind. Thank you, Aaron. So let’s go on to Andrea, but Andrea, before you start, um, you know, there were several questions about how you get into contact with guys, organization, which is PG venture

We’ve pinned the link to the top so that you can check it out. And then Sarah Okay, Andrea, it’s your turn. Thank you. Uh, thank you so much for this chat. It’s been super, super helpful. Um, I didn’t thank you, Sarah, for following up about like what his friends and family and what is pre-seed.

Um, I might follow up with you afterwards, because that led me to a different question. Um, cause we do have revenues, so I’d love to chat with you that with [00:54:00] about that. But this question is for guy, um, I’m the founder of this dog’s life, which we provide dog parents, an online destination to help them discover and make superior choices for their best friends.

And we do that through like a curated marketplace, like a food 52, where we feature both boutique brands from around the world alongside our own in-house wellness supplements, which are rooted in nature and backed by science. Um, the supplements are our bread and butter because they’re premium, but price attainable along with having that nice monthly recurring revenue while also tackling very common health conditions and unique ways.

Um, so when I was looking at the P and G ventures, I don’t, I wanted to know if I don’t think the pet space, unless I’m reading it wrong is one of your focus areas. Um, if that is true, is there other ways P and G can help or do you just, um, work with companies that are in those [00:55:00] focus areas? Andrea, um, little serendipity here.

I’m very interested. So why don’t we connect separately? Okay, perfect. Uh, it is a, it is a space that we’re, we’re interested in, we’re playing today and pet with existing brands. So we have, you know, a Swiffer Swiffer from pet hair. We have, um, uh, for breeze for pets, but, uh, but I’m really interested in the space.

I just think it, um, there’s a tremendous opportunity here to, you know, back to this. No, trade-offs to have really safe, effective ways to live slim seamlessly with pets. So, um, if we could connect separately, that would be great for both of us. Great. I will connect with you on LinkedIn. Thank you.

go ahead. Uh, Collin is one of the [00:56:00] major owners of majority owners of P a guy, which is like the perfect name for all things pet. And you’re talking to a lot of pet lovers here on, on clubhouse today. Um, and they have some unbelievable products, not only an orthopedic bed, but also car seat covers and just amazing.

Amazing. So Colin, I, when he’s talking, I’m like, oh my gosh. Call is probably jumping out of his chair right now. Yeah. I’ve definitely fallen you Andrea. Okay. Yeah, definitely. And, you know, menopause, activate aging for men and women, women. So, um, ways that you can really thrive as you get older. I mean also, um, w I talked a little bit about menopause, but for men, uh, super passionary of ours, um, non-toxic solutions or, you know, home and garden, um, and, and pet.

So that’s.[00:57:00] 

Okay. Great. So last but not least we have Thaddeus, but before we go to Thaddeus, just to reminder, this is the first session to kick off a series of rooms with Proctor and gamble this week. So, as we were saying earlier, we were going to be streaming this live from CES. Um, you know, COVID had different plans for us, so we’ve gone completely virtual.

So please check out the Penn Ford slash CES 2022 so that you can see the full schedule. One of the big highlights is tomorrow. At 12, 15:00 PM Eastern time. I think everybody in this room may be interested in it where they’re finalists. They have four amazing finalists that have some very awesome inventions or going to [00:58:00] pitch their products to win the prize.

So that’s at 12, 15:00 PM tomorrow here on start-up club. All right, everyone, it’s going to be awesome. I’m so excited. There’s such a cool lineup. And if you go to that link, you can get acquainted with the finalists and what kind of products they’re doing. Some of them are very, in my opinion, very revolutionary and they really help folks.

So Thaddeus, tell us a little bit about yourself and what is your question? Hi. Yes. Thank you for having me up. Uh, I am a Thaddeus young bloke. I work primarily within the supply chain. Uh, my question to you today is regarding some of the recent news about some of the product recalls that Procter and gamble had, um, you know, not getting into the specifics, but benzenes and cancer causing agents that have been in the products for a questionable amount of time.

My question is, uh, how do you intend to improve your quality practices and [00:59:00] ensure your consumers, that your products are not only a superior, but also safe. Thank you.

Hey, thank you for that is, as you can imagine for the purposes of this chat, I’m going to go get into tons of detail on it, but just to say, we have always had at the center of our, um, PVPs our purpose, our values, uh, our safe and effective products for consumers. It’s a huge commitment of ours and we are making sure.

That we learned from every opportunity we have these days, make sure that we improve where we need to and provide consumers with outstanding products. So, um, it’s our, it’s a commitment that we have that we take incredibly seriously. I have personally, um, never seen an organization, this committed to something like this, um, uh, across all products and brands that we have.

So I’m very confident that we’re going to, [01:00:00] um, address the issues that we’ve seen. I will say one thing to back to Michelle’s point around the finalists that we have, we had this year, a record number of submissions, and we also had the highest number of submissions from female founders in black and Latin X founders that we’ve ever had.

30% of ’em are submissions where from brought black and Latin X founders and 60% from female founders. Um, and I just wanted to say, I mean, these are great submissions. We, we, we had the finalists that we have. We have, um, one around training your skin’s health. Um, one around a natural pH balanced solution for feminine hygiene, uh, made by women for men, women.

Another one was, um, lady patch, which is a drug free phone and patch that prevents bladder leaks. Um, back to the point around, um, um, active aging and then a final one was really around crop protection and commercializing bio bio-mimicry solutions to combat global [01:01:00] food waste. So just incredible breadth and depth.

Um, and we’ll have a small panel of judges that are going to judge us tomorrow. So I do, and I did not want to dismiss the comment. Uh, the question that thought is how do we take it incredibly seriously? And we’ll make sure that we address it, but I just wanted to give a big plug. Just an unbelievable level of submissions this year, considering what everything has gone, what everybody has gone through over the next year to develop these types of innovations.

It’s just, um, it’s just really humbling for me to be a part of the whole thing. Awesome. We’re humbled as well to have you and your team and these finalists on start-up club. Um, I do see that we have one other person Abby, on the stage, Abby, I almost missed you. So if you could quickly tell us, um, a little bit about yourself, your product and what your question is, please.

Hi, sorry. I’ve been in and out of cause. Um, great session looking forward to catching up on the replay. Um, I work at an ingredient discovery companies where we use [01:02:00] AI to discover new natural ingredients for, um, for all kinds of, uh, application. So my question was for, for guy kind of, we take on a lot of risk, um, with these, you know, brand new Denovo discovery programs.

And it seems like, um, a lot of corporations, especially on the consumer side are, um, hesitant to engage or get in early, um, or, you know, bronc that high risk high reward profile for ingredients. Uh, specifically your example of bode well was, was very relevant. So I was curious as you think about the whole overall innovation, um, framework within PNG, um, you know, we, we were actually kind of to, to risk anything for, for connect and develop how, um, How to mitigate that, you know, it’s a great question, Abby.

And what we found is that there’s, there’s different models, not only for our partnerships, [01:03:00] but also how we start with ingredients and product formulation. We were finding that when you’ve almost always had to do some type of a tweak when we’re forming these partnerships and, um, doing, uh, you know, joint businesses with entrepreneurs, we’ve almost always had to do some type of a tweak from the original formulation strategy to make sure that it addresses all the safety and standards and everything that we have.

So, and then still, sometimes we learn something we need to improve again. So I would say, and, and back to the Ziva example, the product that we have in the market now, And the product that we’re evolving to is actually different than the original one that we started with our entrepreneurs. However, it has the same core truth.

So based on natural ingredients and safety is around kids and pets. So what I’d say is the best advice is start with the overall objective and goal of the product strategy and keep that as the core, not necessarily the specific [01:04:00] ingredients so that we can together find a way to make sure that we, um, we address, you know, as I give you an example, like as, as we get into, um, um, different regulations and compliance that we needed to do, I mean, we, we tend to have, I’ve found that we tend to have a slightly higher.

Um, benchmarks to deliver as a big company with a lot of exposure than some of the small startups that we meet with, um, to make sure we’re fully compliant. So I would say stick to the goal and be flexible on how we get there in terms of formulation to make sure that it works with the, whether it’s a PNG manufacturing facility or a contract manufacturer.

Great. Thank you. I’d love to follow up, uh, attest to more questions, but I really appreciate it and great room. Thanks. All great advice. Yeah.[01:05:00] 

Okay. We’ve come to the end of our session. So a huge thank you from the startup club team to all of our members that attended today. This has been a phenomenal session. I have learned so much. And I’m so personally inspired by the people who have come to stage and to all of Sarah and guys offering to talk to them and help them.

So this has been a fantastic session. Um, so please don’t forget. This is just the first one session of the series. Go to the link pens above where you can find the entire schedule. And please remember to attend the actual pitch where the four finalists will get up and give us the details about their products, and then they will crown a winner.

So looking forward to seeing everybody tomorrow and thank you again to Sarah Guy, Colin and Lil. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. Thanks Michelle. Thanks Colin. [01:06:00] Thanks. Well, thanks everyone. Thank you so much. Yeah, this was a lot of fun. Thanks to all of you. Take care. Thank you so much. Bye-bye bye.


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