I’m thrilled to share that I’ve joined the Collaborative Fund partnership as its first operating partner, where I’ll be focused on supporting our portfolio companies scale their business. The opportunity to work together with Craig, Taylor, Lauren, Morgan and the rest of the team at Collaborative is an immense privilege.
Writing this first blog post is exciting, and also a little nerve wracking (I’ve been a reader of the Collaborative Blog for several years, and Morgan and team set a high bar!). I’ve known of, and been a friend to Collaborative Fund since its inception due to my long-standing relationship with its founder, Craig Shapiro.
I had the opportunity to work with Craig back in the early days of mobile technology, when we worked together pioneering exciting and innovative consumer applications. It was one of the most rewarding and fun work experiences of my life and, in many ways, I’ve spent the last two decades trying to replicate that fun but high performing culture that Craig and I enjoyed at Proteus.
Most recently I led national revenue efforts for XO Group, owner of The Knot. And that is one area I plan to focus on while working closely with Collaborative’s portfolio.
One of my mentors liked to say: “Revenue is oxygen to a business.” It always resonated with me.
Revenue is a great thing. Revenue is quantifiable. Revenue is one of the clearest indicators on whether or not you’ve found product market fit. It can help drive hiring decisions, product decisions, marketing decisions, and overarching strategy decisions. Revenue is one of the key variables measured when valuing a business.
To riff on the biological analogy a bit more, instead of oxygen I think of revenue more like food. Too much and you might get indigestion. Too little and you will starve. And just like food, you want a diversity of types of revenue.
One of the most important changes we made at XO Group over the last several years was identifying the need to diversify our sources of revenue and realizing our business was in fact more like a two-sided marketplace than a media business. We had “food” in a robust existing revenue stream from our advertising business. That food allowed us to invest heavily in product and engineering talent to modernize our marketplace. We also built out a high performing inside sales organization to bring in wedding vendor listings. The result was a super-charged business unit posting double digit quarterly revenue growth that took our market cap from around $300M to just shy of $1B in several years. I’m hoping I can apply what I learned during my run at XO Group to help our portfolio companies scale revenue in smart ways.
Over the coming weeks and months, I plan to write more on this topic as well as other areas I hope to work on together with our founders. In the meantime, I’m excited to jump in.