How Upfront Ventures’ Kobie Fuller Keeps a ‘Performance Mindset’

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.
Upfront Ventures’ Kobie Fuller​
Courtesy of Kobie Fuller

On this episode of LA Venture, Upfront Ventures partner Kobie Fuller talks about his approach to investing, understanding users’ needs and why he tries to keep a ‘neutral’ mindset.

Fuller is also the co-founder and chairman of Valence, a community and network for Black professionals.


Only four CEOs in the Fortune 500 are Black, Fuller noted, adding that more work needed to be done to empower Black professionals and give them opportunities to meet. This became the mission for Valence.

Valence provides its community of Black professionals more exposure and access to senior-level Black professionals and creates a network to help them get support and advice.

“We take a digital community and connect them with, one, each other. And, two, entities that want to find ways in which they can fund, empower, hire and input [them] on board positions,” said Fuller. “It was an idea that came to me, really, because I was frustrated it didn't exist.”

Fuller started his venture career at Insight Venture Partners, cold-calling and sourcing investment opportunities. In any given week, he’d make around 100 calls to founders he thought might be interested in investing with the firm.

“It's a lot of sales to be quite honest,” said Fuller.

Prior to that, Fuller developed his research skills as the chief marketing officer at Revolve as the company was undergoing a rebranding process, where he took a deep dive through focus groups to understand what people like about the brand. That process came in handy later in his career when, as an investor at Accel Partners, he invested in UserTesting. He still encourages portfolio companies to focus on user testing.

"If you're not understanding the voice of the consumer in a way where you can develop product and design for this,” Fuller said, ”what's going to happen is you're going to wake up one day and realize that you've been leapfrogged by someone else who asked."

Even as a successful professional, Fuller said the color of his skin plays a role in how he’s perceived in a landscape that’s primarily white. “That's just the facts of the matter,” he said, adding that Black professionals still have to work much harder in order to get credit for their efforts.

“I just have to be very aware of what it takes,” Fuller said. “Don't complain about it, and just do it and have a neutral mindset.”

That concept, of the ‘neutral mindset’, came from Trevor Moawad, a personal friend of Fuller’s who served as a mentor to a number of professional Black athletes and investors, including Seattle Seahawks quarterback and investor Russell WIlson. Fuller credits Moawad with introducing him to the concept of the “performance mindset” and the notion that negative thinking has a massive impact on performance.

“If you actually articulate negative thoughts out loud, it actually has a potential seven to 10-x multiplier effect,” Fuller said.

That insight had a profound impact on how Fuller views his challenges. He said it taught him “don't be negative, just be neutral–neutralize the negativity, because that will get you in the mindset around what you actually have to do next, which is focusing on the next step.”

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment
Image from Aim Lab

Riot Games has invested in virtual shooting range developer Statespace, accelerating the Los Angeles video game publisher’s efforts to dominate the mobile gaming space.

Read more Show less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Meet Surf Air Mobility, the Startup Trying To Electrify Air Travel

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Meet Surf Air Mobility, the Startup Trying To Electrify Air Travel
Courtesy of Surf Air Mobility

The airline industry is a notoriously terrible polluter, with large carriers struggling to find ways to limit the more than 915 million tons of carbon emissions produced by their industry each year.

Read more Show less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Ranavat’s Founder on How Pregnancy and Ayurveda Inspired Her to Start Her Skincare Company

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Michelle Ranavat
Photo credit: Grey and Elle

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Michelle Ranavat talks about how pregnancy and traditional ayurvedic remedies inspired her to start her skincare company, and how she grew it without relying on outside funding.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending