Greymatter offers perspectives and stories from some of the world’s top technology entrepreneurs and business leaders. The featured company builders share personal and insightful lessons while shedding light on common, relatable challenges in the entrepreneurial journey. Greymatter is produced by Greylock Partners.
Jaime Schmidt and Chris Cantino | Next Generation Commerce
To understand how some of the strongest brands are thriving with the omnichannel approach, Greylock general partner Mike Duboe hosted a wide-ranging discussion on Greymatter on what it takes to build the next generation of commerce companies with Color Capital co-founders Jaime Schmidt and Chris Cantino. The husband-wife team partner with companies creating the future of CPG, marketplaces, ecommerce, and media, and both bring a wealth of experience to the table. Schmidt is the founder of personal care brand Schmidt’s Naturals (which was acquired by Unilever in 2017), and is the author of Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms, which evolved into a media company Schmidt and Cantino run together. In this conversation, Schmidt and Cantino share stories from the early days of Schmidt’s Naturals, which began at local farmer’s markets in Portland, (also known as “the original DTC,” sales channel, says Cantino); their views on bootstrapping versus raising outside capital; how to assess partnerships and potential M&A; and the growing importance of media and content in the ecommerce world. This episode is part of a series of conversations on commerce hosted by Mike Duboe.
Curated | Guided by Experts
The shift to ecommerce has been a natural progression for companies that sell everyday, approachable items like clothing and beauty products. But brands that sell pricey, technical and often highly variable products like skis, golf clubs and camping gear have historically struggled to make the online transition, as consumers tend to prefer in-person consultation at physical stores. Enter Curated. The company has developed a three-sided marketplace to replicate the valuable in-store experiences people want – and need – when purchasing high-consideration items. Curated works with a team of experts across various specialties who connect directly with consumers, then make recommendations for products from brands on the platform based on the individual’s skill level, goals and budget. Curated CEO and co-founder Eddie Vivas sat down with Greylock general partner and Curated board member David Thacker to discuss the company's formation, its accelerated traction during Covid, and their bold ambition for the future.
TraceHQ | Finance at the Foundation
When finance teams have a greater influence on everyday operations, companies can more nimbly respond to economic events – both good and bad. That's why TraceHQ developed a platform that functions as a service desk for finance; providing visibility for teams to immediately see how their financial decisions impact their budget. It then gives finance the committed forecast – a real-time financial plan. TraceHQ CEO and co-founder Mike Gonzalez sat down with Greylock general partner and TraceHQ board member Sarah Guo to discuss how TraceHQ was developed, why financial leaders should be more deeply ingrained into day-to-day operations, and what companies should do to be prepared for whatever the future presents.
Cresta | Amplifying Expertise
Cresta believes AI should help humans, not replace them. Seeing the limitations of AI that simply automated the routine aspects of work performed by many, the company developed a platform that effectively scales the skills of the top few employees, whose job functions require heavier cognitive lifting and expertise. Cresta, which has initially focused on sales and customer service, now works with businesses such as Dropbox, Intuit and Porsche, and recently raised a $50 million Series B. Cresta CEO and co-founder Zayd Enam discusses the company's progress and the future of customer service with Greylock partner and Cresta board member Saam Motamedi.
Mellody Hobson | Security in Knowledge
Ariel Investments President and co-CEO Mellody Hobson, who was recently named the chair of the board of Starbucks Corporation, joins Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman. Hobson, who is the first black woman to chair a Fortune 500 board, shares highlights from her career as an investor, board member, financial educator and philanthropist, and discusses the fundamental changes necessary to diversify corporate America. This discussion was recorded during Greylock’s virtual speaker series Iconversations. In our second event in the series, Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman talked with Ariel Investments president and co-ceo. Mellody Hobson.
Peter High | Getting to Nimble
Greylock specialist Lee Haney talks with Peter High, president of Metis Strategy and author of the new book "Getting to Nimble: How to Transform Your Company into a Digital Leader." While no business is completely future-proof, companies that incorporate nimbleness into their people, practices and digital strategies are able to quickly pivot away from problems – and towards opportunities. Peter and Lee discuss tactics for nimbleness and share stories of companies that embody the concept.