Forbes is out with its 30 Under 30 list and once again we have a rich representation from our portfolio companies.
Retail and Commerce
Alex Lin – Hush.
It is rare for a venture investor to pursue an entrepreneur as doggedly as we did Alex. We first got to know him when he was tearing up the market for massive multiplayer games. It was clear that Alex was an unusual talent: creative, practical, intense, focused. But his company at the time had already raised plenty of capital and we weren’t active investors in the games space. When Alex sold that business, we stayed in touch. And when, in 2015, he started Hush, a unique approach to digital retailing for women, we invested immediately. Sure, Alex has never done commerce and had no background in merchandise. We were fine with that. Winners, win, and in our mind Alex is and always has been a winner.
Matthew Scanlan – Naadam
We are recent investors to Naadam, which blends social good and brilliant financial performance in a startling (and we hope soon to be more common) way. Naadam makes and sells cashmere clothing over the net. Sounds simple, yes. But it is anything but. The business originated when Matthew visited Mongolia with a friend a few years back. Stuck in a small village for weeks on end, he got to see how deeply exploited the goatherds (whose wool is the basis for cashmere) were by the existing system for their goods. Middlemen at every step of the process sucked value away from those most fundamental to its initial creation. Determined to do something about this, he went on a hunt for a company that would innovate in the cashmere trade. He found nobody. So, he made the company he wanted himself, hocked himself to the gills to buy an initial shipment of wool, got to know manufacturers in Italy, and set up shop. He has been profitable ever since, selling at nearly half of traditional retail, paying the goatherds much more than ever before. It is simply a great business and, to us, Matthew is a model for the transformational business person the world needs.
Richie Hyden – Iris.TV
Richie has been doing digital video since before everybody was doing digital video: a decade, which in the dog year’s universe of the internet is forever. With his co-founder Field Garthwaite, Richie pioneered the use of AI driven analytics to serve both viewers and content owners by getting the right videos to the right person at the right time. Iris.TV made viewers happy by letting them know about content they’d actually want to see and in so doing made media companies happy by increasing viewership enormously.
Marketing and Advertising
Corbett Drummey – Popular Pays
Corbett has created the largest, most active, and most reliable marketplace where brands and creators meet to create content worth sharing. He has nailed a ton of awards, and even more importantly has built a business with strong revenue growth and profit potential. What's not to like?
We congratulate these four on their honors and recognize that dozens of other portfolio execs are equally deserving. Our entrepreneurs are an incredible group doing amazing work toward creating the ever-more-digital world their generation will define and dwell in.