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Jun 21, 2019

In this episode, we’re joined by Sebastian Dreher, the managing director of Dohler Ventures U.S., the Los Angeles-based venture capital arm of Dohler, a global supplier of natural ingredients for the food and beverage industry.

Dohler Ventures is specifically focused on investment in early-stage companies and its portfolio includes stakes in a number of fast-growing consumer brands. As part of our conversation, Dreher discussed Dohler Ventures’ funding philosophy and why he believes that investing in emerging brands is more “art than science.”

“There is so much risk involved in every single deal that I need to have the feeling that this company has the potential to… have a $100 million exit,” he said. “It’s a lot of gut feel, [but] you can argue that gut feel is actually a lot of internalized pattern recognition and learnings over time.”

Dreher also spoke about how he evaluates scalable innovation, why category dynamics are crucial to Dohler’s investment strategy, and why great founders are also great fundraisers.

Show notes:

1:48: Wilde On B -- Post-BevNET events, the hosts chewed on chicken in chip form (thank you Wilde Brands), sipped on sparkling rooibos tea, snacked on salmon jerky and chastised Jon Landis for his beverage hoarding. Of course, CBD is also the mix.

10:43: Sebastian Dreher, Managing Director, Döhler Ventures U.S. -- In an interview recorded BevNET Live Summer 2019, Dreher spoke with Taste Radio editor/producer Ray Latif about the mission and focus of Dohler Ventures and how his passion for innovation has helped shape his role with the venture capital firm. He also explained why a brand’s potential to create a new category is a key component of Dohler’s funding philosophy, the average size of an investment and the number of investments that Dohler Ventures makes in a calendar year, and his view that “Investors don’t invest in products, but in businesses, businesses that get acquired.” Later he discussed his expectations for ROI, red flags that preclude him from investing in a brand, and how he manages relationships with entrepreneurs and other investors.

Brands in this episode: Wilde Brands, BOS Tea, Fishpeople, Minna, Upwell