Janitor to V.P.

In the 1980s, Frito-Lay had a secret weapon and it didn’t even know it. His name was Richard Montañez, and he came from a long line of grapepickers. He spent his days cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors — he was a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant. However, he was also responsible for America’s hottest snack: The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He was the first Frito-Lay employee to question, “what would happen if I put chile on a cheeto?” And so he did.

As a newly minted Vice President of Frito-Lay, Montañez pushed the snack foods conglomerate to introduce…


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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Fairly-priced, good-for-you products
  • Today: In January 2018, Public Goods launched a highly successful indiegogo campaign raising nearly $1.5MM from zealous fans. Since then, founders Michael and Morgan have raised $3MM from SF funds YesVC and Day One Ventures.
  • The Opportunity: With the CPG market overwhelmingly flooded with harmful products, Public Good has found a sweet spot in delivering common home & bath products armed with only…


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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Genderless + multi-vitamin infused + pH-optimized body care
  • Today: Backed by popular consumer venture funds Imaginary Ventures and Forerunner Ventures, Necessaire launched only a month ago and has already received much praise from big players in the beauty space. …


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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Re-engineered athletic socks
  • Today: Bombas made its public debut on Shark Tank. And although Shark Daymond John told the founders, “socks are the hardest things to sell”, he ultimately ended up investing. Yet, I’m reviewing Bombas not because of its 5-min of fame, but because of its ability to take a viral moment and build a continuous business. …


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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Clean + Simple Snacks [$20 for a pack of 6]
  • Today: In a mission to redefine the world of packaged snack foods, Sun & Swell is taking a very authentic approach by growing organically. Founder Kate is using the lessons learned at HBS [and management consulting] and translating them to her new world of snacks. …

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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: A modern, stylish scent for your home
  • Today: Launching exactly one year ago, Otherland is taking the candle industry by fire [pun intended]! Although funding is unknown, they did amass seed funding from the founders of Casper and Venmo. The Columbia Business School graduate, Abigail, is making next-level candles by wrapping wonderful smelling candles in chic packaging. …


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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Hims’ classier yet badass older sister
  • Today: As we close out 2018, it’s important to remember that 2018 has been a record year in the Femtech space. North of $400MM is expected to be funneled into these startups by the end of the year [think: Modern Fertility, Nurx, and Maven].
  • The Opportunity: Hers is taking center stage in the Femtech world. Hers lives at the intersection…

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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • Today: Launching its first ~100 products just over a year and some ago [July 2017], the company has already raised ~$300MM including a round led by the notorious SoftBank to take on Amazon. While I usually cringe when founders tell me their long term vision is to become Amazon, Brandless is proving to be a competent competitor.
  • The Opportunity: The private label revolution is changing the way people think…

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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Bedding and sleepwear made from Bamboo fabric
  • Today: Ettitude was part of the East Coast accelerator, ERA. The company reached sales comparable to other bedding startups all on a self-funded budget. They run very lean and have only taken ~$500k in funding.
  • The Opportunity: While most bedding companies use the same supplier (aka the same materials), Ettitude is seeking to innovate on more than just packaging…

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This story was originally posted on my instagram (Digitallyyours_) An account where I use a venture capital lens to discuss today’s digitally-native, venture-backed products (DNVBs) at their earliest stages and beyond.

  • The Elevator Pitch: Providing accessible, organic feminine care products
  • Today: Born in 2017, the team behind Athena have gone on to raise ~$3.8MM from the likes of Henry Kravis of KKR, the Desmarais Group, and Cue Ball Capital.
  • The Opportunity: Although a good portion of investors shy away from companies that appear foreign to them, the Femtech and care space is more than just a niche market. Targeting 50%…

Ilse Calderon

Investor @ OVO Fund (pre-seed and seed stage venture capital firm) I love all things D2C and Food tech! Find me here: ilse@ovofund.com

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