By Micah Rosenbloom, Managing Partner
When we meet with entrepreneurs, our goal is to find founders who are “all over it.” We’re looking for operators who can draw a treasure map to navigate markets that bewilder most onlookers. This is also a trait we look for in the people who join our investment team, and we believe our new Principal, Amanda Herson, possesses it in abundance.
Entrepreneurship was the topic of dinner table discussion growing up for Amanda. Her family owned and operated a small group of army & navy surplus stores in Cape Town, and she spent her weekends and vacations working the registers, stocking shelves, and learning the art of selling.
She came to the United States for college, earning a degree in economics from Wharton and then spent a couple of years at the Boston Consulting Group, crunching numbers and crafting strategy presentations for clients like Pepsi. Pursuing a new challenge, she joined the famed Rockwell Group, a design firm that creates commercial environments for brands like Coca-Cola.
Seeking opportunities outside of sugar water, she joined Limited Brands, where she managed thousands of SKUs for Bath and Body Works before being charged with helping to grow Victoria’s Secret’s body care line of products.
She attended Harvard Business School where she met Staples founder Tom Stemberg and began to file away retail lessons working alongside him as a venture capitalist at Highland Capital’s Consumer Fund. Amanda supported investments in Castor & Pollux (now the #1 organic dog food brand in America), Strivectin (#1 independent clinical brand), and learned some tough lessons on City Sports.
After broadening her perspective, Amanda was recruited back to join the family business, which had expanded and diversified in her absence and urgently required more executive bandwidth. She launched new fashion lines and built systems to manage a growing workforce. She personally led the expansion of the company’s new fashion stores from a handful to over 100 and helped the overall company scale to 300 stores and approximately 4,000 employess. She built the firm’s ecommerce business from scratch into a modern omnichannel retailer that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
I think it’s fair to say that there are only a handful of people in venture capital that can match this level of retail and consumer expertise.
These experiences have exposed Amanda to the realities of logistics and provided her an encyclopedic breadth of hard-earned lessons about customer service, leadership, culture, and scaling. She has a passion for understanding the consumer at every point in their journey and the technologies that enable less friction, a richer experience, and a deeper relationship. She also has deep empathy for the entrepreneurial journey and the challenges and detours along the way. We are so glad to have Amanda on the team and look forward to how she will support and expand the Founder Collective community.
P.S. We’re hiring for a Principal in our Harvard Square office — Join us!