Backing the Next Generation of Consumer Brands with Tina Bou-Saba 

With over 20 years of experience in the consumer ecosystem, Tina Bou-Saba is an active investor across beauty, health and wellness, ecommerce, and more. We sat down with Tina to run through her diligence criteria, ecommerce enablement drivers, evolving consumer appetites, clean tech stacks, and the new fund she’s raising at Verity.
November 1, 2021
by
Tydo logo and the Verity Venture Partners logo on a dark gray background

Backing the Next Generation of Consumer Brands with Tina Bou-Saba 

With over 20 years of experience in the consumer ecosystem, Tina Bou-Saba is an active investor across beauty, health and wellness, e-commerce, and more. She’s the cofounder and managing partner of Verity Venture Partners, where she backs generation-defining brands and the tech that supports them. Tina’s personal investing track record spans many top emerging brands including Olive & June, Rae, Kosas, Hydrant, Saie, and Huron.

We sat down with Tina to run through her diligence criteria, ecommerce enablement drivers, evolving consumer appetites, clean tech stacks, and the new fund she’s raising at Verity.

Diligence Criteria: Sticky Customers & Organic Reach  

Over the course of her career, Tina has gained a deep appreciation for the power of brand and customer loyalty — two key characteristics she looks for in potential investments. When Tina evaluates a brand, she asks: 


  1. Is there a sticky audience that’s making repeat purchases? 
  2. Are there loyal customers who share the brand organically and even form communities around it?
  3. Does this company have a clear customer acquisition edge? 


In terms of metrics, Tina looks at repeat purchase rates, product margins, percent of customers on subscription, social media data, and a healthy mix of paid and organic acquisition strategies. She points out that while average order value and other traditional e-commerce metrics are useful to frame diligence, she prioritizes evaluating the broader business model, community engagement, and how founders creatively leverage data. 

In her words, consumer brand investing requires identifying categories that can hit a high multiple exit over a five to seven year period. The industry structure in many consumer categories is centered around conglomerates, so as a venture investor, Tina focuses on unlocking exits in the branded consumer ecosystem.

Outside of consumer, Tina sees a massive opportunity in the enabling technology space and is actively investing in the field. Her experience working with emerging independent brands over the past five years has given her insight into what infrastructure tech brands are using, what tools they actually need in real-time, and which software tools aren’t mission-critical.

“As we think about the eccomerce ecosystem, at its core are branded consumer businesses. Adjacent to them are the tools that support those businesses, including enabling tech like Tydo. That’s a segment we’re actively tracking and investing in.”

Verity’s Value Add: Collective Operating Intelligence 

Focused on backing early-stage companies, Verity is looking to lead or co-lead most of their investment rounds. Typically, they’re writing checks from $750K to $2.5 million. 

In terms of engaging portfolio companies, Tina and her business partner Matt Levin leverage their collective consumer and retail backgrounds to up their advisor and operating networks. 

Having straddled the investor/operator line for most of her life, Tina likes rolling up her sleeves and helping founders navigate the weeds of their businesses. This is a different approach from many early-stage investors, but one which differentiates Verity. From firsthand experience, Tina knows that early-stage brands are looking for genuine value-add partners — folks who can really help them think through the day-to-day and smaller decisions, such as which retail term sheet to take, while also helping them navigate larger strategic issues

From her vantage point, there’s a unique opportunity right now for a firm that has expertise both on the consumer product and service side, as well as on the enabling technology side. That’s the Verity sweet spot. 

“Investors have to straddle two priorities: portfolio construction and sourcing and winning great deals, while also zooming out to a 30,000 foot view of what’s going on in the ecosystem and how consumer preferences and behaviors are shifting.”

Leveraging Data as a Competitive Advantage

Consumer brands have access to seemingly endless amounts of data, but most companies, especially smaller brands, are leveraging very little of it. While some of that might be due to bandwidth or a knowledge gap, there’s a clear opportunity for investors to help brands engage with their first-party and zero-party data and implement quant-driven growth tactics accordingly.

Tina specifically recommends that brands start by cleaning up their tech stacks, or at least outlining and establishing hygiene best practices. In her words, Tydo’s a great place to start. 

For companies who do one to ten million in sales, the hardest part is bandwidth. Their data strategy falls through the cracks because they’re constantly fighting fires. It’s just not a priority. 

The other piece of the puzzle, Tina points out, is a lack of education and awareness of what’s possible with data. There are so many tools out there, but it’s hard to decipher how a tool impacts a specific function. Again, that gap in knowledge can be partially filled by experienced and engaged investors. 

“For me, the question is around how we can help cut through the noise and support founders of fast-growing consumer brands by clearly defining best practices, and partnering with founders to execute accordingly.” 

The Future of Consumer Brands: How to Win

It’s never been easier to launch an independent brand, but it’s also never been harder to grow and scale one because of the hyper-competitive nature of the ecosystem at large.

Consumers have an insatiable appetite for newness, but according to Tina, the winners will be the emerging brands that form authentic connections with consumers, and build communities with real meaning and longevity.

While a hot brand might sprint out of the gates with a ton of press and attention, that doesn’t necessarily mean that its underlying business model, go-to-market strategy, and operating margins ensure healthy growth over the months and years to come. Rather, true brand durability derives from a loyal audience, product that delights customers, and clear acquisition advantage as it relates to unlocking organic growth at scale.

“That’s the core of Verity’s thesis: backing brands that aren’t necessarily the flashiest, latest, greatest things. Rather, they have genuine longevity and durability, driven by passionate customer communities and supported by sustainable business models.” 


Report Cards

Free

Report Cards is a customized glimpse into your business, delivered to your inbox for free.

Report Cards consolidates all your key metrics across platforms for an at-a-glance pulse of your business.

Discover metrics for every team member so they can stay updated with the right data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

It's free because we believe everyone should have access to the basics.

Learn more
Base for feature illustration

Portfolio

Portfolio is a hub for analytics across multiple Shopify stores. The perfect tool for agencies.

See an aggregate view of all your data for all your stores in one place.

Make real time assessments on marketing initiatives across every storefront you manage.

Analyze the performance of one store versus another in seconds.

Learn more
Screen 1
Base for feature illustration

Noah Wunsch

Founder & CEO,
Ruby
BOOK PICK
Ramping Your Brand
James F. Richardson, PhD
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Paul Voge

Founder & CEO,
Aura Bora
BOOK PICK
High-Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will
Mark Rampolla
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Andrew Benin

CEO & Cofounder,
Graza
BOOK PICK
Salt Sugar Fat
Michael Moss
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Becca Millstein

Cofounder & CEO,
Fish Wife
BOOK PICK
The Secret Life of Groceries Benjamin Lorr
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Allie Dempster

Cofounder,
Lupii
BOOK PICK
How to Change Your Mind Michael Pollan
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Michael Sharon

Cofounder & CEO,
Taika
BOOK PICK
The Beginning of Infinity
David Deutsch
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Michael Wieder

Cofounder, President, & CMO,
LALO
BOOK PICK
The Checklist Manifesto
Atul Gawande
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Stefany Nieto

Cofounder,
Mojo Microdose
BOOK PICK
The Immortality Key
Brian Muraresku
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Cattie Khoury

BOOK PICK
Extreme Ownership
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Alex Onsager

Cofounder & CEO,
Character
BOOK PICK
Competing Against Luck Clayton Christensen
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Steph Hon

Founder & CEO,
Cadence
BOOK PICK
Open
Andre Agassi
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Katina Mountanos

Founder & CEO,
Kosterina
BOOK PICK
Pour Your Heart Into It
Howard Schultz
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Dee Charlemagne

Cofounder,
AVEC
BOOK PICK
Shoe Dog
Phil Knight
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Cristina Ros Blankfein

Cofounder,
Swoon
BOOK PICK
Shoe Dog
Phil Knight
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Peiman Raf

Cofounder & CEO,
Madhappy
BOOK PICK
Shoe Dog
Phil Knight
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Libie Motchan

Cofounder,
Fulton
BOOK PICK
Burn Rate
Andy Dunn
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Chris Meade

Cofounder,
Crossnet
BOOK PICK
Double Your Profits
Bob Fifer
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Maggy Nyamumbo

Founder,
Kahawa 1893
BOOK PICK
The Big Brand Lie
Eddie Yoon, Nicolas Cole, Christopher Lochhead
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

David Phan

Founder,
Huppy
BOOK PICK
The Slight Edge
Jeff Olson
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

Cole Pearsall

Cofounder & Chief Sales Officer,
Acid League
BOOK PICK
Business Stripped Bare Richard Branson
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

David Fudge

Cofounder & CEO,
Aplos
BOOK PICK
The Big Leap
Gay Hendricks
0:00
2:00
Show transcript
Hide transcript

More about the project

Here at Tydo, we try to highlight DTC founders who run their business in various ways. And, that's because there's no "right" way to run a DTC brand.

This project illustrates exactly that. Whether it's how a founder supports their team or how they talk about mental health in the workplace, every founder has a different approach. How do they discover these different approaches? One way: reading. Discover the greatest books that have changed the way 15+ founders think about or operate their business.

You can also listen to these book picks on Spotify or Anchor.fm.

Brandon Amoroso

Founder & President,
Electriq
GIFT PICK
AM to PM Set
by Brooklinen
For the friend who has everything (or when I have no idea what else to get!) this Brooklinen candle set is my go-to gift. It has a classic look, and each scent gives off a homey, exceptionally cozy vibe—perfect for the winter months.

Juliana Casale

Head of Brand and Community,
Wonderment
GIFT PICK
Desert Planter
by Jungalow
A lot of my friends either have a ton of indoor plants, or aspire to be the kind of person who has tons of indoor plants. Jungalow has a nice little selection of live plants in their online store, and they sell super cute planters like this one to house them in. Instantly add ambiance to any party you attend!

Tom Shea

Cofounder,
Adgile
GIFT PICK
Long Jambys
by Jambys
I try not to show up to a dinner party empty-handed. I love bringing “performance inactivewear”—better known as Jambys!  After a night spent entertaining, every host needs time to sit back, relax, and reset. And, what better way to do that than in a pair of super soft, Jamby joggers?!

Rhian Beutler

CEO/Founder,
Govalo
GIFT PICK
The Mini Essentials
by Brightland
Brightland's capsule sets are one of my favorite things to gift a party host. This set does it all—perfect for a charcuterie board or a drizzle on a crusty loaf of bread. It comes in a beautifully designed gift box that makes you feel like you are giving a gift that everyone can enjoy together and use even after the party is over!

Mike De Santis

Direct of Biz Ops,
Doris Dev
GIFT PICK
Humidifier
by Canopy
With winter right around the corner, you have to make sure your loved ones and friends don't dry out! When the heat comes on, the Canopy Humidifier helps to provide humidity in your home! Plus, the built-in aroma diffuser is a great alternative to candles!

Yair Slasky

Business Operations,
Fondue
GIFT PICK
Sampler Pack
by Olipop
You can never go wrong with Olipop—the soda that tastes good and is good for you! Same-day delivery makes for a perfect last-minute gift! I'll be stocking up on a few Sampler Packs this holiday season.

Robi O’Cleirigh

Marketing Manager,
Relo
GIFT PICK
The Classics Box
by Bad Brownie
Whilst I’ve never needed a party as an excuse to chow down on these bad boys, they’re the perfect gift for your host! Easy to share, and a real crowd pleaser, Bad Brownies are a great go-to, holiday sweet treat.

Arjun Jolly

COO/Cofounder,
adQuadrant
GIFT PICK
Sandwich Thins
by Outer Aisle
A healthy and allergy-conscious addition to any dinner, these delicious cauliflower sandwich thins are a top-notch alternative to bread (gluten free and sugar free). They’ll be a fan favorite at the dinner table.

Never miss an update from Tydo

Thank you! Be on the lookout for updates.
Hmm, something when wrong

Zack Elias

Director, Partnerships,
Plobal Apps
GIFT PICK
Open House Bundle
by Life in Lilac
The name says it all—Open House. This is my go-to gift for anyone hosting during the holidays (and a bottle of wine, of course)! Open House is a clean, crisp scent perfect for every day. If fresh laundry isn’t your vibe and you prefer woodsy/smoky notes, Life in Lilac has plenty of A+ scent options.

Nik Sharma

GIFT PICK
Matcha Variety Pack
by Chamberlain Coffee
No one says no to a good cup of caffeine in the morning. In fact, if there was a way to inject caffeine in my veins, I'd be open to testing that. But, the issue with most caffeine is there's always a crash! The crash sucks... you feel tired and unfocused, you just wanna take a break. This is where matcha comes in... but for those who don't want JUST the taste of green soil, Chamberlain Coffee created the perfect flavored matcha. Emma personally worked on these blends, so you know they taste amazing and just as good (if not better) than they look.

Jessica Grossman

Founder/CEO,
In Social
GIFT PICK
Best Seller Bundle
by Three Ships
Who doesn't want the gift of better and brighter skin? Our friends at Three Ships Beauty are the leaders in natural skincare that actually works! Starting with the bestseller bundle helps giftees discover which products (if not all!) work best for their skin.

Kate Cassidy

Partner Marketing Manager,
Tydo
GIFT PICK
Drizzle & Sizzle
by Graza
I love showing up to a party with a practical gift the host can and will actually use. Graza's Sizzle and Drizzle squeezable olive oil set is a welcome addition to any kitchen—plus, they fit perfectly in a wine bottle sized gift bag.

Marcus Ohanesian

Partners Manager,
Trellis
GIFT PICK
Lastra Holiday Mug
by Vietri
This hand-painted Italian stoneware mug is a great gift for any hot cocoa or coffee drinker! If you want to go the extra mile, include a bag of coffee beans or hot chocolate mix.

Phillip Jackson

Cofounder,
Future Commerce
GIFT PICK
Tile Mat
by Letterfolk
I’ve waxed poetic about Pattern Brands over the last few years—and I’ve quickly fallen for one of their newest brand acquisitions. The Letterfolk Tile Mat is a unique gift for any host. It looks on point in any home. Plus, it’s endless fun to customize!

Maier Bianchi

Founder,
Bemeir
GIFT PICK
Haitian Moringa: Hair, Skin, & Nails Vitamins
by Kreyól Essence
Haitian Moringa vitamins are a versatile gift with multiple uses and beneficial health properties. I love giving the Pineapple Rhum Punch flavor! Introducing items from diverse cultures, especially ones from black-owned businesses that deserve recognition, brings me joy.

Never miss an update from Tydo

Thank you! Be on the lookout for updates.
Hmm, something when wrong