Bart Clareman, AlleyWatch: Tell us about your path to Brand Foundry Ventures and into venture more broadly?
Sumeet Shah, Brand Foundry Ventures: Like most young VCs I got into the venture capital industry by accident. When I graduated from Columbia in 2008 I was a biomedical engineer focused on biomechanics, and I ended up in the industry that all BMEs go into – which of course is private equity – at a private equity consulting firm called Gotham Consulting Partners.
I got the opportunity to build outside the box thinking and analytical mindsets, but what was particularly exciting was tapping into other sectors beyond Healthcare, Pharma and Biotech, which is what I had specialized in during my time as a biomedical engineer. I did a lot of work in the consumer world, working with everyone from major cosmetics companies to manufacturers of junk items to nutraceuticals businesses to juice-co packers to the guys who make the cookie cakes.
Through a mutual friend I was introduced to [Brand Foundry Founder & General Partner] Andrew Mitchell.
Andrew is an operator by background. He built three businesses in the health and beauty space, and he was running an angel shop called Zig Capital through which he invested in 30 companies, including day one investments in companies like Warby Parker, Birchbox, Harry’s and Peloton.