A highlight from Robin Tsai of VMG Partners: 'We're delving into categories that are still a little amorphous'
A general partner at vm. G partners welcome robin big for me. So robin be g of these firms. That i think has a lot of buzz attached to it. And you're drunk elephant you're revolved with ryoji. Oh so many of the cool beverage and food brands wellness brands out there. Are you know you're apart app. So i'm just wondering how did you first come aboard in how you got. How did you get here so guess personally I i honestly didn't really have. Great blueprint does the truth I was one of those guys who i went through college without really understanding. What investment banking or consulting were at no idea I saw a bunch of my friends who are all dressed up in suits from time to time and didn't really figure out what they were doing. I was really more focused on working with kids. That's kind of what i spent. My summers doing. Really more focused on Teaching counseling things of that nature. So i was actually a middle school. A public schoolteacher For for junior high school kids coming coming out of college. that was the deal And then after that. I ended up joining the boston consulting group. You know barely knew anything about business. I was able to work with some really really phenomenal people and really started to kind of work within their consumer and retail practice really loved that Went to business school and then joined. Bmg this is back in two thousand nine so you know our first fund was we had our first one was an os seven vintage fund that we really didn't start to invest until oh eight so it was super super early days at that point and most people don't really think of private equity as you know a startup but that's honestly kind of what we were so tell me you know obviously two thousand nine coming into that early to the game at vm. G like you probably help very much establish what your investing. This was at the company. What would you say was back that it's a great question You know. I think as a first time fund. You're really more defined by what works and what doesn't and you can have all these great feces at that point in time but it's a lot easier to actually connect the dots when you're actually looking backwards and when you're looking forward so what i would say is what we're good at is we're really good at working with founders. And you know just something that was part of our dna. I think it probably also came from. Just you know the fact that we were startup as well so we could really empathize with what people were going through You know we found that we were very good with Brands and sort of having a certain gut in terms of what consumers really cared about where they were headed And i think we're really good about sort of thinking about consumables right things that actually have repeat purchase And released understanding that. In a d and identifying early groups that had a or brands that actually had a very loyal consumer base at the outset candidly. But we weren't very good at is we were. We weren't really good at durables You know we had a couple of businesses that were more sort of fashion oriented. And that is that is you know a. I think that there are some great investors in the space who've done incredibly incredibly well it just. They weren't us and we didn't. We didn't do as well in that space. And and i think we had enough. Hopefully you know Candor with our shop to be able to say that you know that might not be a place for us to double down back. Then you know were you thinking about you know beauty wellness food beverage. The way that you're thinking about it now or was it just happened to be that. These categories seem to fit together. You know like while. We're connecting the dots here. Several years later it's interesting would say that. Because vm geez a very focused shop We do is invest in you. Know branded consumer goods especially on the growth side with two funds we have a growth fund and we also have a catalyst fund which is much more focused in tech But let's just say stay on the growth side for now Because we only invest in a couple of verticals. It's not like we're actually going. Around changing chasing theses all the time. our mo is really more about investing deeply within the ecosystem of the categories that were investing in