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Meet the low-profile VC firm that invested in tech’s last two billion-dollar sales

Forerunner Ventures has had a very good month as an investor in both Dollar Shave Club and

Forerunner Ventures Founder Kirsten Green
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Kirsten Green doesn’t want attention. So much so, in fact, that she asked me not to write this.

But Green’s venture capital firm, Forerunner Ventures, has had a very, very good month. And so I have respectfully declined that request.

Green’s all-women firm specializes in e-commerce investments and has backed companies such as Warby Parker, Birchbox, Bonobos and Outdoor Voices.

It was also the lead backer in Dollar Shave Club’s first investment round back in 2012 — the same Dollar Shave Club that recently announced a sale to Unilever for $1 billion.

Forerunner was also a backer of, the would-be Amazon rival that Walmart has agreed to purchase for $3.3 billion.

As it stands, Forerunner is the only firm, as far as I can tell, that invested in both of these billion-dollar startups. This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First, Forerunner will clearly do well financially from the two exits. Its investment in Dollar Shave Club alone should earn it more than the $40 million its institutional backers invested in its entire first fund.

The VC firm, which Green runs with an investment partner, Eurie Kim, will also earn several multiples of its investment on the Jet sale.

But, perhaps more importantly, the acquisitions could go a long way to proving out Forerunner’s thesis: That as more purchases move online, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers will struggle to adapt and digitally native brands and retailers will be valued at a premium.

Historically, the knock on e-commerce investments from the venture capital community has been that the upside for investors is typically much lower than in, say, a software or messaging startup. Facebook paid $19 billion for Whatsapp, for example, which was coming off of a year in which it did just $10 million in revenue.

E-commerce companies, on the other hand, have been lucky to sell for two or three times revenue. Now, with the Dollar Shave Club and Jet sales, there is proof that e-commerce companies can be valued at well more than that.

And that’s great news for Green, a former equity research analyst, and Forerunner, too.

This article originally appeared on

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