Jul 6, 2021 • 42M

Monique Woodard of Cake Ventures on the 3 layers of the Cake that comprise her thesis, what she learned at Lightspeed and 500 startups, fundraising during a pandemic, and diversity in the seed.

Samir Kaji
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Venture Unlocked is the playbook for starting, operating, & scaling a successful venture capital firm. Samir Kaji, Host of Venture Unlocked has +20-years of experience assisting & advising startups and venture firms. Listen for VC fund guidance.
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Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.

We’re so pleased to bring you my discussion with Monique Woodard of Cake Ventures, a seed-stage firm investing in demographic change. To date, Monique has invested in startups such as Blavity, Court Buddy, Mented Cosmetics, and Silvernest. 

Cake Ventures invests in a thesis that is based on a “three-layer” philosophy that the future of technology is being driven by certain major shifts:

  1. The aging Baby Boomer population

  2. The shift of minorities driving culture

  3. The increased spending power of women.

Monique herself has a diverse background in government, venture capital and inclusive entrepreneurship. She was previously venture partner at 500 Startups, an investment scout for Lightspeed Ventures, and she is also the co-founder of Black Founders. 

We chat about a wide-range of topics, from her work in Sub-Saharan Africa, why she chose to start her own fund vs joining a large fund, raising capital, and the importance of building community in venture.


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In this episode we discuss:

01:56    Monique’s journey into venture capital

04:26    Why she joined 500 Startups

06:51    Key insights on the globalization of startups from her time at 500 Startups

08:57    Transitioning from 500 Startups to Cake Ventures

11:10    The three layers of the Cake that form her thesis

13:39    Early days of Cake Ventures

17:30    Raising capital in a virtual environment

20:32    Institutionalizing yourself and your portfolio

22:52    Why Monique decided on being a solo GP

28:46    When you should think about bringing on additional partners

31:13    The future of diversity in the seed ecosystem

35:08    Monique’s biggest learning as an investor

37:00    Some missed opportunities

38:23    Inspirations in the investment community

Mentioned in this Episode

I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Monique. 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.

Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee Agency