Interview With Jill Royster
Fund / GroupAngel / Venture Partner at Powerhouse Capital
As an Angel, I invest in women-led and owned consumer businesses in the health/wellness sector.
Powerhouse Capital is a tech-driven fund that focuses on the 4 key pillars of media: SIGHT (Visual), SOUND (audio), PLAY (gaming) and LIVE (experiences).
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED IN PRIVATE INVESTING?
I started investing as a direct byproduct of helping sell a sports consultancy in 2016. I’m a marketer by training and having worked for both publicly traded (Time Warner, Gannett) and PE-owned companies (TH Lee), I am comfortable navigating highly complex, nuanced organizations with varying lines of business, differing priorities and multiple stakeholders. My role in the sales effort was essentially to network the opportunity and “gut check” the different options. To get up to speed, I needed to increase my own understanding of the traditional deal process. I joined an angel syndicate in NYC, I went through the 37 Angels Investor Bootcamp course, and I started building a network of trusted, like-minded folks to help me learn and become a better investor. The Wing was my very first direct investment, and that single opportunity has afforded me many new learnings over the course of years.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU VALUE IN AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY?
It’s a tie between product market fit and the founder(s).
WHAT ARE THE BEST INNOVATION THEMES THAT YOU SEE IN THE MARKET TODAY?
Using my Angel lens, I’d have to say more access to women with capital.
From a media standpoint, the opportunity to truly know your customer…to create and scale globally through data-driven, D2C platforms (i.e. Netflix, Spotify). The extent to which media can be personalized now is remarkable and will only continue to improve with new technology.
BEYOND ECONOMIC RETURN, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO?
Of course, returns are the primary reason we invest, but finding the right strategic partner to help you grow, meaningfully scale, and thrive (financially, culturally, purposefully) is the ultimate impact.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PRESSING CHALLENGES OR PAIN POINTS IN MANAGING YOUR DAY-TO-DAY PRIVATE INVESTMENT ACTIVITY?
Valuations. They are too high, and too often, there isn’t enough proof of concept. To top it off, the very same people are making the decisions behind the valuations and determining the next “it” company. It’s a vicious cycle that’s been proven hard to break.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST INVESTMENT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AND/OR THE BIGGEST INVESTMENT MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE?
Be true to your investment thesis and don’t have FOMO
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE INDUSTRY INFORMATION SOURCES AND/OR SERVICES?
Fitt Insider for all things health/wellness/nutrition.
Term Sheet, Strictly VC, The Hustle, Axios for all things investments.
I also read the NY Times, WSJ and The Post everyday. Physical copies. Call me crazy.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NON-BUSINESS INTEREST OR HOBBY?
Travel. I’ve missed it terribly this past year. And hanging out with my niece and nephews.
PLEASE LEAVE US A BOOK RECOMMENDATION (BUSINESS OR OTHERWISE).
Fiction: A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving). Be kind and appreciate each other’s differences.
Non-Fiction: Long Walk to Freedom (Nelson Mandela). A lesson in perseverance, leadership and the benefits of collaboration.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET OVERALL?
It’s frothy, but I’m optimistic. Right now I’m trying to balance that optimism with realism.