M13’s Propulsion Model Was Built to Help Execute
The collective experience of M13’s partners is invaluable to startup founders.
By Sarah Tomolonius
Last Updated: July 7, 2021
Published: April 19, 2020
In today’s world, everything is connected. M13’s team is a constellation of founders, operators, strategic advisors, supply chain partners, leaders, mentors, and innovators in a network that spans every part of the business ecosystem.
Our investment partners and our vertically integrated Propulsion partners our purpose built team of industry leading executives with extensive knowledge and execution experience work collaboratively with our portfolio companies to manage macro and micro risk, maximize opportunities, and drive successful outcomes. In early stage venture, M13 is unique for our bespoke operator insight and expertise across a range of key growth functions that we bring to our close relationships with our founding teams.
We designed M13 to enable our founding teams to execute better and more efficiently via a wide network of resources, knowledge, and operational expertise. None of us could have foreseen COVID-19 as the event that would create a recessionary environment, and although we expect there will be further challenges to confront head on, M13’s platform investment approach is designed to create outsized returns in a downturn.
Prior to starting M13, we reflected on our experiences as investors, founders, and operators of startup businesses. We assessed the landscape and saw a white space in the venture world: investors were providing financial capital but not the critical company tailored operational resources to help founders build durable, successful growth businesses.
Our scalable model productizes knowledge, shortcuts the learning curve, and helps our portfolio companies grow, particularly in this macro environment. We roll up our sleeves and sit side by side with our founders to help them problem solve, rather than just share a Rolodex of contacts. We also leverage our constellation of world class talent including other partners, advisors, and investors, including the 50 plus successful entrepreneurs who invested in Fund II.
By design, M13’s 10 partners have deep operating backgrounds. Five of our partners are vertically focused with tremendous experience across customer acquisition and data, product, distribution, operations, brand/communications, and talent key knowledge areas of expertise critical to our founders and to galvanizing strong outcomes.
More importantly, our team has been there before, shepherding startups through prior crises to successful outcomes and exits. We help them adjust levers such as pricing, hiring, product line expansion, and burn in order to optimize for market conditions. The collective experience of M13’s partners and our focus on execution is invaluable to company leaders now more than ever.
Examples of our partners’ experience navigating difficult crises include:
- Karl Alomar: Prior to being COO of Digital Ocean, which he grew to over 500 employees and $200 million of revenue (from 10 employees and <$10 million revenue) in five years, Karl successfully managed and exited two startups through two market crises, including founding and operating China Export Finance, a fintech trade finance company, and guiding it through the 2008 correction before selling the business in 2010.
- Christine Choi: As Virgin Group’s SVP of Corporate Communications, she worked directly with Sir Richard Branson, founders, and CEOs to build Virgin Group’s North American portfolio of branded companies. Christine led Virgin’s U.S. brand campaigns, social impact initiatives, crisis, and reputation management and served as Head of Communications at Virgin Galactic.
- Courtney and Carter Reum: They co-founded a spirits company, VEEV, in 2007, and successfully navigated the company through the 2008 correction, ultimately selling the business in 2016.
- Gautam Gupta: He co-founded and was the CEO of the direct to consumer food company Naturebox, which raised more than $70 million in venture funding. He successfully turned around the company in 2018, including lowering monthly burn from over $1 million to break even within a year.
We’re intentional about making better investment decisions by building, prioritizing, and deploying knowledge across portfolio companies. Ultimately that knowledge sharing enables and improves deal flow and helps portfolio companies get up the J curve faster by anticipating challenges and opportunities, accelerating growth, achieving greater capital efficiency, and facilitating superior outcomes all to make the next star companies both in market peaks and troughs.