Dana Settle on starting and building Greycroft, Maintaining culture and speed with scale, and thoughts on VC moving forward
Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
This week on the show we’re joined by Dana Settle, Co-Founder of Greycroft. Founded in 2006, Greycroft began with a mission to invest in areas outside of Silicon Valley and specifically in NY and LA. The firm currently has over $2B in Assets Under Management, over 60 employees, and has invested in companies such as Bumble, Scopely, Plated, and Maker Studios among many others.
This was a special episode where we unpacked all of the components of firm-building including team development, fundraising, investment decision-making, and evolving to market dynamics.
We hope you enjoy my conversation with Dana.
Program note: This was recorded prior to the issues arising in the banking sector.
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About Dana Settle:
Dana Settle is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Greycroft. Dana’s active investments include Acorns, Anine Bing, Avaline, Bird, Citizen, Cloud Paper, data.ai, Goop, HamsaPay, Happiest Baby, Merit Beauty, Mountain Digital, Pacaso, Seed Health, Tapcart, Thrive Market and Versed. Her notable exits include Bumble (IPO), Maker Studios (acquired by Disney), Pulse (acquired by LinkedIn), The RealReal (IPO), Trunk Club (acquired by Nordstrom), and WideOrbit (interest sold to company management).
Prior to Greycroft, Dana spent several years as a venture capitalist and advisor to startups in the Bay Area, including six years at Mayfield, and investment banking at Lehman Brothers.
Dana holds a BA in Finance and International Studies from the University of Washington and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
In this episode we discuss:
(02:03) What led to the creation of Greycroft
(06:46) How they found believers in their hypothesis and got their first fundraise completed
(08:19) Advice for managers and entrepreneurs raising in the current market
(11:34) Building a distributed and remote-first culture outside of Silicon Valley
(15:33) The role of diversity when building strong partnerships
(19:00) Traits Dana values when she is hiring for the firm
(21:09) Why curiosity is so important and how she uncovers that in candidates
(23:55) The importance of creating a safe space for new voices to be heard in a firm
(27:59) Why Dana hated the internal politics of old Silicon Valley and wanted to remove that from Greycroft
(30:54) The decision to follow-on invest in their portfolio companies
(33:11) How Greycroft manages conflicts within the partnership
(35:01) The philosophy around team-building within the firm and how that benefits their portfolio companies
(37:19) How Greycroft remains nimble with such a large organization
(39:26) The bull case for Venture Capital moving forward
(42:09) What Greycroft got the most correct and the most wrong in its history
I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Dana. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.