San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
On August 16, entrepreneur and investor Ben Lerer will be our guest for our third PandoMonthly New York.
Lerer needs little introduction to the New York tech crowd, but I'll give one anyway. Lerer is the co-founder and CEO of Thrillist -- the modern lifestyle brand for hip, urban guys everywhere. I always thought of Thrillist as DailyCandy for dudes, but it has continued to evolve well beyond the basic email newsletter. It now includes street wear flash-sale site JackThreads and the Groupon-like Thrillist Rewards.
The acquisition of Ohio-based JackThreads was transformational for the company, as the ecommerce brand is now bigger than Thrillist itself in terms of revenues. Post-acquisition, JackThreads went from $5 million to $50 million in revenue in just 18 months. Given how it has dominated the business, some people have considered it a pivot. But given Thrillist's content roots, it could also be seen as yet another example of the tight intertwining of content and commerce that's dominating New York startups today.
Lerer is also a partner in Lerer Ventures, a firm that is aiming to do for startups on the East Coast, what SV Angel has done on the West Coast (read: Invest in most everything promising). Indeed, the two firms have a co-investing agreement to cross-pollinate Lerer Ventures' Huffington Post-soaked media expertise with SV Angel's Ron Conway-soaked Silicon Valley dominance. Given that Thrillist grew with very little venture capital, I'll be curious to hear Lerer's advice for startups when it comes to raising cash.
Lerer Ventures' portfolio includes BirchBox, Chartbeat, greplin, Pair, Romotive, RebelMouse, and plenty of other companies we're watching closely. It also includes PandoDaily.
The last time I saw Lerer it was at the Lerer Ventures CEO Summit. He was on a panel with a few of his portfolio companies, and after about 10 minutes, he impatiently took over the moderator's job, leading a lively conversation about acquisitions, handing out equity and the perils of startup hiring. Unfortunately, that conversation was off the record. Our conversation next Thursday will be very much on the record, and I expect Lerer to be no less candid, outspoken, and entertaining.