Early in her career, Kirsten Green listened to the guidance of countless retail leaders: “Respect the consumer. Listen to the consumer.” Now, as founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures, Green heeds that advice as she pursues retail industry investment opportunities.
“The consumer coming down the pike is more discerning than ever,” says Green, a former equity research analyst and investor. “They’re increasingly thoughtful about how they’re allocating their money and time, and we’ll see them increasingly ask for businesses to be better — better at delivering a great experience but also better in terms of environmental impact and producing quality products.”
This fall, Forerunner announced a $360 million fund to continue investing in these forward-thinking retailers. Green sees venture capital as a critical part of the business cycle, charged with funding unproven ideas. She loves taking on a leadership role, being able to partner with founders early in the process and following their trajectories as they grow into leaders of their companies.
Forerunner currently has 49 active portfolio companies and has invested in winning businesses including Dollar Shave Club, Jet.com, Glossier, Birchbox and Warby Parker. The businesses that interest her are not only addressing unmet consumer desires; they’re using data to make decisions and are particularly nimble. “My greatest joy is to support these companies and founders,” Green says. “I'm inspired by all the founders who are thinking differently, who aren’t afraid to take risks, who are challenging norms in search of better alternatives."