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.
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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:
The aging Baby Boomer population
The shift of minorities driving culture
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.