We are seeing a new density in our portfolio: connected brands! Fellows are onboarding with aspirations to take what may have previously been a simple e-commerce play or traditional retail, but they have a much bigger vision in mind. And, frankly, their early discovery is oozing with customer lovelust for what could likely become a cult favorite or a viral hit.
Investors like Forerunner Ventures have made big bets in this category, putting money into connected brands like Warby Parker, AWAY, Bonobos, Glossier and so on!
How do we define a connected brand? According to Forerunner, these startups are "leveraging technology, consumer insights, and a deep commitment to brand building... in a quest to modernize today's retail industry."
Why are we excited about this emergence in the portfolio? We have somewhat of a track record in ecommerce in this market (a la Hayneedle!). And, we have a growing, competitive fashion community (as proof in Omaha Fashion Week and the Fashion Institute Midwest).
Are we seeing a trend? Hope so!
Stay tuned for LEVEL 4 // MVPs from two of these Fellows in the coming weeks.