LA Venture Podcast: Petra Griffith of Wedbush Ventures

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
LA Venture Podcast: Petra Griffith of Wedbush Ventures
Wedbush Ventures

One of my new favorite L.A. investors is Petra Griffith, who joins to discuss Wedbush Ventures on this week's episode of L.A. Venture. Griffith founded Wedbush Ventures in May of 2020. It's an early-stage venture fund that invests in seed and pre-seed stage companies.


Key takeaways:

  • Griffith's work at Grandpoint Bank made her realize that traditional banks have a really hard time with venture debt because venture debt doesn't look at cash flow or regular metrics. Instead, venture debt looks at who's backing the company and is interested in the ability of the company to raise money in the future.
  • While working on Netflix's first product team, Griffith learned that consumers needed to both trust the platform brand and feel emotionally connected to the show — quickly — if they were to become fans.
  • Griffith says she initially felt foolish speaking up about what she thought, but learning how to do so turned out to be a game changer because admitting what she wanted out loud, allowed people to open doors for her.
" ...going from from Yahoo to the bank and then from the bank to Netflix [...] I remember the first week being, like drinking from the fire hose." — Petra Griffith
"I always try to think about, 'how do you create a culture that's transparent, that's about problem solving, that is not afraid to raise issues and not afraid to probe'."Petra Griffith
"I think the willingness to pay for content will hit a wall soon. And so I think about other ways in which people are really finding value...And I think it's around community. I think it's around being proud of being in a community and being proud of what the community stands for." — Petra Griffith

Want to hear more of L.A. Venture? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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LA Tech Week: Female Founders Provide Insights Into Their Startup Journeys

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech Week: Female Founders Provide Insights Into Their Startup Journeys
Decerry Donato

Women remain a minority among startup founders. According to Pitchbook, even though women-led startups in the United States received a record $20.8 billion in funding during the first half of 2022, U.S. companies with one or more female founders received less than 20% of total venture funding in 2022. U.S. companies solely led by female founders received less than 2% of the total funding.

The panel, titled Female Founders: Planning, Pivoting, Profiting, was moderated by NYU law professor Shivani Honwad and featured Anjali Kundra, co-founder of bar inventory software Partender; Montré Moore, co-founder of the Black-owned beauty startup AMP Beauty LA; Mia Pokriefka, co-founder and CEO of the interactive social media tool Huxly; and Sunny Wu, founder and CEO of fashion company LE ORA.

The panelists shared their advice and insights on starting and growing a business as a woman. They all acknowledged feeling pressure to not appear weak among peers, especially as a female founder. But this added weight only causes more stress that may lead to burnout.

“The mental health aspect of being a founder should not be overshadowed,” said Kundra, who realized this during the early stages of building her company with her brother..

Growing up in Silicon Valley, Kundra was surrounded by the startup culture where, “everyone is crushing it!” But she said that no one really opened up about the challenges of starting your own company. .

“Once you grow up as a founder in that environment, it's pretty toxic,” Kundra said. “I felt like I really wanted to be open and be able to go to our investors and tell them about challenges because businesses go up and down, markets go up and down and no company is perfect.”

Honwad, who advocates for women’s rights, emphasized the value of aligning yourself with people with similar values in the tech ecosystem. “[Those people] can make your life better not just from an investment and money standpoint, but also a personal standpoint, because life happens,” she said.

Moore, who unexpectedly lost one of her co-founders at AMP Beauty, said that entrepreneurs “really have to learn how to adapt to [their] circumstances.”

“She was young, healthy, vibrant and we've been sorority sisters and friends over the past decade,” she said about her co-founder Phyllicia Phillips, who passed away in February. “So it was just one of those moments where you have to take a pause.”

Moore said this experience forced her to ask for help, which many founders hesitate to do. She encouraged the audience to try and share their issues out loud with their teams because there are always people who will offer help. When Moore shared her concerns with her investors, they jumped in to support her in ways she didn’t think was possible.

Kundra said that while it is important to have a support group and listen to mentors, it is very important for entrepreneurs to follow their own thinking and pick and choose what they want to implement within their strategy. “At the end of the day, you really have to own your own decisions,” she said.

Kundra also said that while it is easy to turn to your colleagues and competitors and do what they are doing, you shouldn’t always follow them because every business is different.

“When I was in the heat of it, I kind of became [a part of] this echo chamber and that was really challenging for us,” Kundra added, “but we were able to move beyond it and figure out what worked for us [as a company] and we're still on a journey. You're always going to be figuring it out, so just know you're not alone.”

K-beauty Entrepreneur Alicia Yoon On Taking the Leap From Corporate Consultant to Starting Her Skincare Brand

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Alicia Yoon in black and white
Alicia Yoon

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Peach & Lily founder and CEO Alicia Yoon discusses her journey from being a corporate consultant to establishing her own skincare brand as well as the necessity of having an airtight business model to become successful.

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LA Tech Week's Climate Panel Unveils Funding Secrets for Green Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

LA Tech Week's Climate Panel Unveils Funding Secrets for Green Startups
Samson Amore

In a region known for being a national trailblazer when it comes to climate policies, there’s no shortage of green energy startups in L.A. looking for funding. There’s also a plethora of investors and incubators, which means founders looking for cash flow should be extra specific about their value proposition when they pitch to cut through the noise. At least that was the message coming from the panelists at the UCLA Anderson School of Management on Tuesday.

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