Dec. 20, 2017

#20 Harper Wilde

#20 Harper Wilde

The founders of Harper Wilde want to take the B.S. out of bra shopping. That means convincing our investors that they’ve found a way to turn it from a major inconvenience into an easy at-home experience.

Today's investors are Phil Nadel, Jillian Manus, Daniel Gulati and Charles Hudson.


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Go behind-the-scenes with the founders and investors on The Pitch



From Gimlet, I’m Josh Muccio and this is The Pitch.


On today’s episode: two founders make their pitch for an easier way for women to shop for their most basic commodity. 


But what happens when the investors you’re pitching have already been burned by your competition?


Phil Nadel is with Forefront Venture Partners. When he invests, he takes an active role in helping to build a company by focusing on the fundamentals. 

Phil: if you build that data set out, it could be very, very valuable.

Jillian Manus is with Structure Capital. She sees the founder as the key to success for any startup. 

Jillian: you are scrappy. you are confident

Daniel Gulati is here with Comcast Ventures. He looks for companies where there’s an opportunity to really build out the brand’s identity. 

Daniel: I think the packaging looks really great. And it clearly sets the brand apart from sort of other commodity brands.

And finally on today’s episode, in the fourth seat is Charles Hudson with Precursor Ventures. Even more than any other investor, he’s open to early stage companies—if he thinks they have the potential to catch fire. 

Charles: that consumer, to me is still up for grabs, and i think if you can articulate a strategy about how you capture that person, then you’ve got a really strong story.


Charles: Hello. Hey, I'm Charles.


Jillian: Hey, I'm Jillian.


Phil: Jane? I'm Phil. Jenna. Jenna and Jane. Nice to meet you. I'm Phil.


Jillian: So Jane and Jenna.


Jane: Yeah. You can switch it up. We'll probably respond to either. We're used to it.


Jillian: I will probably will.


Phil: You're that flexible.


Jane: We gotta get used to it when we have such similar names.


Jenna and Jane stand before the investors with the poise and confidence of two founders who are completely in their element.


Jane: Yeah. So I'm Jane.


Jenna: And I'm Jenna.


Jane: And we're the founders of Harper Wilde. And we built Harper Wilde to take the BS out of bra shopping. Or as we like to call it, ra hopping


So Jenna and Jane both went to Wharton to get their MBA. They didn’t go in with dreams of creating their own startup, but there is something about sitting in a classroom learning about the business world — you can’t help but see opportunities all around you. And for Jane, the opportunity she saw was… herself. 


Jane: I was this woman who loved shopping, I had nice shoes, and nice pants, jeans and purses, and to be totally honest with you I had a bra that I was wearing that was probably five years past its expiration date. And it just hit me. Why are all these other companies coming out with an easier way to buy a more fairly priced commodity, yet a woman's most basic commodity is still so hard to buy, and so expensive. 


Jenna: I think at the time I had an underwire poking me in the side, the bra I was currently wearing. A little TMI, perhaps. But it really resonated with me. and really thought to myself, why is it that I'm not replacing my bras? And for me, I thought about the incumbents in the industry and where I could possibly go, one of whom owns 60% of the market and these new incumbents have not chipped away at that


Phil/Jillian: Victoria's Secret!


Jenna: Yeah. We were trying to be polite.


Phil: Let's not keep it a secret.


Jenna: it's completely hypersexualized, so antiquated, um the embellishments, the you need a padded version, the uncomfortable experience that's not what's resonating with the modern empowered woman, and should not be the experience that young girls are also going to And that is why we created Harper Wilde.


Jane and Jenna are here today to raise $750 thousand dollars to help build their company so that they can provide that modern, empowered woman with a better option for bra-buying. 


Figuring out what that option was meant Jenna and Jane first had to do a little research… and that meant going to some pretty serious lengths.


Jane: I mean we went as far as to, with their permission, follow women home, and actually understand what the process of buying bras is like for them online or in-store, and what bras they have at home And so what we said is, How would it be best to find the right bra for you?


What they discovered is that many women find shopping for bras at brick and mortar retailers to be a hassle. They struggle to find the right style and fit, and often can’t tell if a bra is right until after they’ve brought it home and worn it with other clothes. 


Jenna and Jane had a hunch that a mail order, free home try-on model was the key. Kind of like a Stitch Fix or Trunk Club for bras, but without a subscription. To test this theory, they came up with a pretty ingenious plan.


Jane: So we had this idea, okay, free home try-on we think should work. But do we really need to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, buy thousands of bras, manufacture them ourselves, before we test it? Shouldn't we find a way to test it first? And so we bought 400 bras of existing brands, and we found a way to basically replicate the purchasing process and test it for zero dollars to us.


Once they had the 400 bras — all in different styles and sizes — they laid them out on display at Jane’s house in Philly. Then they invited 50 women to come over. They made it a little event, serving wine and snacks, encouraged the women to peruse the collection. By the end of the night, each woman had picked out five bras to take home and try on.

Jane: And we let them keep them for a week. And anything they didn't want to keep, they returned to us. And then we went and returned anything that wasn't bought.

Jenna: So we were able to see which of the five styles we offered they actually took home, which ones they kept, and really cut that data to see which features mattered.


What they learned was that women wanted fewer options—not more. The easier they could make the shopping experience for them, the more likely they were to buy.


Jenna: The simplicity is something that's very core to the brand. This whole taking the BS out of bra shopping. There's the whole theory on the paradox of choice, and when you have too many options you're actually less likely to purchase. So we invested in the fabric, we invested in the cups, we can show you the products.


Jane pulls out a small box with the three bra styles and hands it to the investors. The box slowly makes its way down the line, from Phil to Daniel to Jillian and finally to Charles. Everyone takes their time looking at the bras, but Jillian is the only investor to actually lift one out of the box.


Daniel: How does kind of the StitchFix model work in the underwear category? Do you see friction on the consumer side there?


Jenna: Yeah, so we can actually talk about since we've launched. Fast forward a year when we launched with free home try on, and about 65% of our orders do come through this free home try-on model. And we see 110% conversion. 


Phil: So when you send out the free home try-on, what percentage end up buying?


Jane: So two-thirds buy at least one or more.


Phil: Two thirds buy one or more. Okay. 


Jane: we've been fortunate enough to already have repeat purchases, which is really exciting in this category, because women actually normally buy once per year. 


Daniel: But to be fair, home try-on is like a tactic not a... It's a tactic that can be replicated, obviously. The bet is you've created product that is fundamentally better than AdoreMe, True Fit, That's the bet, right? That you have…


Phil: You're creating a loyal customer because you've given them the opportunity to try on...


Daniel: But my point is that can be pretty easily replicated. 


Jane: So actually free home try-on is not easily replicable. the ability to operationally to have enough inventory to buffer a free home try-on logistical model is actually very complex. How long they keep the bras for, how many bras they're allowed to actually take home with them, So that's actually not just something that someone could say, okay, you know what, we're going to start free home try-on right now 


All right, so Jane is saying the free home try-on model is easier said than done. But it’s not like other companies like Stitch Fix haven’t cracked this code already. Hell, Zappos pioneered free home try-ons 20 years ago and is still going strong.


But bras are actually kind of a tricky market. Lately a handful of companies have tried—and failed—to find an innovative way to break through.


Jillian: So can I ask a question? What have you learned from past companies, bra companies that have tried to launch in this space? Because I do know of a number of them. You probably know more than I do, Charles, around that, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.


Daniel: And Phil.


Jillian: And Phil. Sorry. And Phil. 


What Jillian is alluding is that Charles and Phil both previously invested in a bra startup called True&Co.


Jillian: So I'd love to hear from you and I'd love to hear about it from you Because I don't know this space.


Daniel: Neither do I.


Jillian: At all. And if I told you where I bought my bras, you would die a thousand deaths.


Daniel: Same here.


Jillian: So this is... You know, I realize that I'm the woman here and supposedly I know more about this than everybody else does, but interestingly enough Charles and Phil will know more about this than I will.


Charles: That’s debatable.


Jillian: What happened to True? It went under because? What do you think the reason was?


Charles: It’s really hard to say.


Jillian: Phil?


Phil: I don’t have a good sense.


Jillian: See, that’s a problem for me. What went astray? Do you guys know what happened with that company?


Jane: So they were selling other people’s bras. So more of a marketplace for bras. So the whole idea was...

Phil: I think they started doing their own brand, as well. 

Jane: They had some in their... And their whole idea was, there are so many options. It’s a similar pain point, they were just solving it in a different way. So we agree on that 


Jenna: So what we've seen from a lot of the other companies is this focus on let's innovate on the bra. Let's make the perfect bra and keeping prices high near $70. There's thousands of bras out there. The issue is really in the process of buying them. We would talk to women with six, seven figure salaries who are like, honestly, I just go to, I buy a ten-dollar Maidenform bra online because I just don't even know where else to go. And that's really where we came in with a better experience and a more fairly priced product. 


Charles: The thing I've always been surprised by is that, and I feel weird saying this as a man, when I've talked to my friends about it, a bra is something you wear every day, but Like There's no objective bra. It's got to work for you. my sense from talking to my friends, you've got to buy a couple of these.


Jillian: I think there's a loyalty factor here, too. Because I'll be really honest. I buy my bras at Target. Okay. Because they have a huge selection, they have lots of, and they are actually quite comfortable. And I've also bought them at Spanx, I've also bought them at Victoria's Secret I’ve also bought them, I mean if I tell you how many types of bras I have, because I don't have really a loyalty to a brand, because I don't think there has been one brand that has gotten it right yet, for me. So it is that, taking off what you’re saying, one size cannot fit all. Because we are so vastly different And I know that I also went to Victoria's Secret, I went through the whole bra sizing which took an hour of time, which was an hour lost of my life, and... 


Daniel: But is that just because you haven't found anything that you like? Like are these...


Jillian: Actually I was more curious to see, because their selling was your bra's not fitting. And I thought, okay, well I think my bra's fitting, but I've never been through a bra fit so what the heck. And I went through it and when I walked out I was too frustrated Because they kept giving me all these little push up and push out and push sideways, and the whole thing was ridiculous, and see through. And I was thinking to myself, what do I look like? A Playboy bunny? I mean, I really wanted something functional. So on one hand, that's what bras are...what people don’t realize is they are functional. I don't like the fact that we're objectified, I don't like Victoria's Secret. And so for what you're saying, you're saying all the right things. It's the message, but it's the brand loyalty that you're going to have to build up. And I think that might, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's going to take a lot of time and a lot of capital to do that.


Jenna: I mean one thing that we found that's really interesting is that we do see that there is a lot of brand loyalty in this space. And that was one of the things we first set out to figure out. Like are people going to be willing to try a new brand? And what we hear is that women, when they do find something they like, they want to go back and repurchase.


Jillian: Until they find the next thing.


Jenna: Or what happens is, a lot of brands discontinue. Because they treat this as a fashion product, and it's trending. And they treat it in that category. Whereas we see this in a different light, as it being a staple, a commodity, it's the basic. We say we're your 90% of the week bra.


To become that 90% of the week bra, Jenna and Jane need to earn customers’ loyalty—a challenge they think they’re up for. Because according to them, no one brand is serving people well enough to deserve that loyalty. They’re not trying to woo customers away from a brand they love; they’re just trying to finally give them a brand they can love. 


Jane: We had such similar conversations to this one where we sat with a woman who had really made it, and I imagine you have the money to buy a nice bra, but you're still buying Target ones. And you have really nice other stuff on, but you have a $20 bra. And that's what we heard, anecdotally, over and over again. We would sit down with these women who had the luxury of buying whatever they want, and we could see that they cared about what they wore, but they bought a $20 bra. 


Jillian: But it still works for us. 


Jane: It works. So you don't need this...


Daniel: So is this enough of a pain point do you feel like? It feels like the innovation is, like, so if you're happy with your Target product, right?


Jillian: I go to Target, and then I go online, and I buy ten of these. That's it.


Daniel: And like for sure I buy into the fact that you are for the price a better product and a better buying experience. But is that the 10x better product that we look for as venture investors? Because to your point, you said it yourself, they're getting along just fine with the Target product. And so like this seems like it's a little bit better, for sure. But it's not obviously, at least not to me, 10x better than the Target bra. 


Jenna: As much as someone might have found something else that works for them, whether it's Target or somewhere else, most Millennials, they're moving into cities, . How are they going to get there? Also, they're working 12 - 16 hour days. Neither of us as we were getting out of the office at 10 or 11pm, even if we wanted to go bra shopping, we couldn't. 

All Harper Wilde may not be a huge improvement over the typical bra you might find at Target. But at least they save you the trip. 

And they also offer this other thing: a strong, funny brand voice. This actually isn’t trivial — brands like Dollar Shave Club and Casper Mattresses have been able to compete in really crowded markets in part because of their strong brand voice. It makes people like them — and then those people… become customers. 


Jenna: And that’s one of the things that we’ve heard time and time again our customers are really excited about. This cheeky, sophisticated, respectful, but don’t take ourselves too seriously, willing to put bullshit in the packaging, and find different ways to relate and then build that trust, that we can earn more quickly because we’re really willing to put ourselves out there and be relatable. But I’m just worried about the loyalty. I’m really worried about what is going to drive this. 


Daniel: Just to echo Jillian’s point, as a non-consumer, I’m hearing two sides of the story. One side of the story is this is a category that has zero loyalty, which is what you’re talking about. Which is the consumer of the category is just forever going to be a fickle consumer, and their share of wallet will always be fragmented across multiple brands, in which case it’s probably not that exciting a category. The other story that I’m hearing, which is the kind of story that you guys are talking about, which is that there is extreme brand loyalty. So which version is the truth? Like is Jillian an outlier? Or is it just like a category that will never engender strong loyalty?


Jane: I mean, I think a lot of the disconnect lies in something that you said that I actually think was off-base, which was...


Daniel: It happens all the time.


Jane: Well, fairly, you don’t buy bras. Which is that it’s not a pain point. If you had sat through the conversations we’ve sat through, I mean we turned into therapists for a bit of a period. People hate bra shopping.


Daniel: I was just going off of, to be fair, I was just going off of what you said, which is people are happy with their Target bra. And I think you said that too. So based on a sample size of two, I was just concluding that...


Jane: Yeah, no. So I was wrong. But they’re so upset with it that they’ll resort to buying at the same place where they buy their dish soap. It’s not that they’re so loyal to Target or they believe in the mission of Target that they’re sticking to it. It’s the fact, and what’s going to keep them loyal is if it’s so easy. They just don’t want to deal with it. They buy once per year because they want to get it over with.


Charles: Like I actually have the opposite reaction to the Target bra which is that, people are saying well if everything sucks, I'm going for the lowest common denominator, consistent price. It's reliable. It's $20. If I'm going to spend, if I'm going to get something that's kind of a miserable experience, at least let me not spend a whole lot of money on it.


Jillian: This is not a miserable experience. I'm very happy.

Charles: For you. 

Jenna: This is actually something that we feel very strongly about. Like, we can't be everything. We're prioritizing, we're picking one at the top, a number two, a number three. And we were both very clear on the fact that our number one is simplicity. And everything around, like when we say we take the BS out of bra shopping, we don't lead with 'we make the best bras', we definitely don't lead with 'low price'. We make it easier for women. Because they're getting out of work late, they don't have time, they don't want to do it. We do that through free home try-on, the simplified options and the fair pricing. But simplicity is really, really what we lead with.


Phil: I don't know if you mentioned, this round is priced at how much? What's the valuation?


Jane: This one's a 9 million with a 20% discount.

Jillian: How many customers so far? Because you're talking about a 9 million cap. Right. So I'm trying to figure that out.

Jenna: Yeah so we've had around 25% month over month growth since launch. We're at over 2200 orders. So around 20,000, anticipated to be around 150,000 this year. And then getting to around 2.2 million for next year.


Jane: So we launched at the end of June.


Jillian: Oh goodness.


Jenna and Jane have made their case for why there’s a new bra company in town. Now it’s up to the investors.


Here’s Phil


Phil: I think you're onto a real opportunity here in building a brand. Just what you were talking about, because no one is doing it the way you're doing it. And I think there's huge opportunity in the bra sector to build that brand. So I think you're definitely on to something. For me, it's just a matter of the numbers. where you are now in terms of traction, it's early. I get that. It's only a few months in. But the cap on the note doesn't reflect that, at least in my experience comparing to other deals we look at. So for me, that just doesn't work. I can't justify paying, what was it? A $9 million cap when you're currently at $20,000 a month. for that reason alone it just doesn't work for me so I'm going to pass. But good luck.


Phil’s out. Here’s Daniel.


Daniel: I'm going to pass as well. I think, I'm totally up for making a brand bets. We invested in Away for luggage, Dollar Shave Club. maybe because I just am naive, but I'm still not totally bought into this category. For us to make a brand bet, we really need to be excited about the category. And between the many tombstones that have existed as well as just the consumer behavior, I'm just not 100% bought into the category. look, I think you guys obviously understand the consumer, you guys have done a ton of really thoughtful work to get inside the psyche, and that's to be commended, I think it's really rare. So I look forward to seeing the progress.


Daniel is out. Here’s Charles.


Charles: For me, I was impressed by your thoughtfulness about the problem. And I think I don’t know if I have the same vision for the brand principles and the brand anchor that you two do. But for me, I’d want to see a bit more sort of feeling of alignment around what the core principles are. But I think in terms of customer pain points, you two are well above what I’m accustomed to seeing, and I think you’re well positioned there. But for me, it’s just that I don’t quite know that we see the opportunity the same way, so it’s not quite right for me.


Three out of four investors have passed. Here’s Jillian.


Jillian: Okay. So ladies the experience for me is, it is the touch and feel, and I do have some thoughts, because I think the product is good. I think it could be better, I’ll be honest with you. Because even feeling around the cups and the wire, there are some jagged, if you’ll, I’ll let you see afterwards, but there are some sharp edges out of the middle bra, I think it was the black bra. I don't know if this is something you're fixing, and I'd have to get more into the design piece of it. For the most part, it's super smart. Super smart. I am really really challenged by, and it comes off of what Charles is saying, which is I don't see that edge. I see the messaging and the fun to be fantastic, and that certainly is going to create that emotional excitement around this, and also around the women uniting around this real pain, because it is a pain, and having fun with it. I need to see where you go with this. And I need to see how you're going to build loyalty. I think that's my big concern around this. I am so upset with the bra journey. This is not uplifting to me. So let me end on that. 


[thank yous and goodbyes]


Jenna and Jane walk out of the room, leaving the investors to wonder if they made the right call.


Daniel: You know what, I think I'm unduly influenced by the ones that have failed. I always find it really hard to bet into a category, and I know this should absolutely not be the case, because our whole job is to find the things that work, and not to redline categories. But I always find it really difficult to bet into something that looks like something that didn't succeed.


Jillian: And they don't have such a clear differentiator, which is what you were saying. There's no real....


Phil: I tell you, I felt so good about investing in True&Co when they first came out, because I thought, wow, they really, they get it. They're going to come out with...


Charles: But a lot of their pitch, I mean, it’s funny. True & Co’s pitch was largely, like, the core of it was one company, five years ago, or seven years ago when we invested in it, they were like one company controls 60% of the market, no one has any other market share. It’s time. Like, every company has that same narrative, and none of them can seem to chip through.


Daniel: I just feel like, how do you bet on the seventh player when six have gone out of business, essentially. It’s tough. And yet, at the same time, our whole job is not to redline and throw out the baby with the bathwater. And so you’re trying to then unpick, okay, well then why did these things fail? Was it the team? Was it timing? Was it improper execution? And are these guys different, because they do seem like a really compelling team.


Phil: They seem to think that they have isolated that pain point differently. They're viewing the buying experience differently, and the pain point differently, and they’re solving it in a different way.


Daniel: But is that enough? Is that enough?


Phil: Are they right? I don’t know if they’re right. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not.


Daniel: Because I think it's the brand resonates or it doesn't. And I think, you don't have to tell this story about, oh, the market needs to mature for this to be... The category is already there and they're all big. And so it isn't that hard, not to downplay those guys, but I think that is the bar for these companies. To be a true billion dollar direct to consumer brand, the brand has to resonate, and brand isn't one of those things you can necessarily iterate on, I don't believe. I like the consumer thinks what they think of you. And I think you can evolve a brand and build on it, but you can’t, it's not software where you're iterating on it constantly. At least, that's not my belief.


Charles: I never thought about that. But that’s a really good frame.


Jillian: Yes. And that’s a wrap.


Except on our show, it’s never a wrap. 


What happened after the pitch you just heard? The story continues after a word from our sponsors.




Welcome back! A month and a half has passed since we last heard from Jane and Jenna. So I figured, it’s time to get an update on how Harper Wilde is doing.


Jenna: Yeah, things have been going really well. We had a really successful month last month with the holidays, and we’ve been growing the team, so it’s been busy, but all good things on our end.


Josh: Wow, so it sounds like things are growing? 


Jenna: Yeah. Well, we’re really excited to be growing the team. We’ve been pretty lean up until now, but we are going to be doubling the team in the new year, so we are stoked for that, and really excited about the people we have coming on board.


Josh: So, doubling it from two to four?


Jenna: Three to six. And then shortly after, seven. Yeah. Close enough. 


Josh: So, thinking back to the pitch to the investors, what do you guys remember? What sticks out in your mind?


Jenna: Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting. It was one of—I mean, probably one of the more unique pitching experiences we’ve had 


Jane: Yeah, I mean there’s such a fun dynamic in the room because so many people are there talking with each other about it and kind of playing off each other 


Josh: Did you know going into it that Phil and Charles were investors in True & Co.


Jane: True & Co. Mm-hmm.


Josh: Did you know going into it?


Jane: I think we had a sense for one of them, if I remember it. Now I’m having a hard time remembering what we knew before. But I don’t think we knew both of them did.


Josh: Okay. And you were—so, you weren’t planning for how that might affect things?


Jane: I mean, that’s something that’s come up quite a bit in conversations, just because it’s one of the more recent exits in our space, so it was not the first time that we’ve heard it. Normally, we don’t sit down with people who have invested in competitors because they just kind of bow out before we have the conversation. But regardless of that, it still is a topic that comes up in conversation.


Josh: So one thing I noticed during the pitch is when you handed out the Harper Wilde box of bras for the investors to look at, the only one who actually picked up the bras and examined them was Jillian. That really struck me. Was that something you noticed?


Jenna: Yeah. I mean, I think that there was probably all eyes on her, given that she was the only one of the four investors that has probably—has worn a bra. / / So, I think kind of eyes on her to react to it. I think on our end, I mean, we always want people to look at the product, inspect it. It’s funny, actually—if anything, we usually have the other side of the problem, where we may be sitting across from a man, and he doesn’t want to touch the product. So, we were pretty happy that Not only did she to feel it, and touch it, and inspect it, but she wasn’t afraid of it. 


Josh: [laughs] So you find that a lot — that male investors are skittish with your product? 


Jane: Yeah. I mean, I think that that’s an unfortunate scenario with—we are female founders, and we are pitching a female product. And that is one of the biggest challenges that we’re up against. I mean, you probably know the statistics just as well as we do about how few women get funded. And I think a big part of it is because at the end of a lot of conversations in a room full of men, they come back to, well, I guess I’ll have my wife, or my sister, or my daughter try it out. And so, it’s a bit unfortunate that women are so not represented in the room for fundraising, that it could all come down to one person or one wife at home. 


Josh: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, speaking of which, do you feel like your product—which is all about de-sexualizing something that’s a commodity—is coming at a time when women are really looking for products like that? 


Jenna: Yeah. I mean, I think that this is the—it couldn’t be a better time for that. You see that women—the over-sexualization is just completely antiquated. There should be no expectation that a woman’s wearing a corset to work. There’s nothing to apologize for. We deserve to be comfortable everyday. And we wanted to build something, and a product and a service that empowers that woman who is in the boardroom, or running a household, or running around a hospital, and helps her get through her every day.


Josh: Yeah. It’s interesting, I’ve thought about this a lot, just because it’s obviously a pervasive problem in tech and in the world. And I think it’s one thing to be able to—everybody agrees, well, this should be better. We should do this better. But yet, we keep seeing a lot of times that people fall into the same patterns. And I think it has a lot to do with the founding team, who they actually are as people, and less about what they actually say. So, I’m wondering, What are you pulling from when you decide, we want to do things differently?


Jane: I guess a bit—I mean, of course you see stuff in the news, and there’s certainly things that we take a pretty hard stance on not doing in a similar way. I mean, for me at least, it’s definitely personal experience.


Jane: I think honestly, it was just—I mean, we were really, really excited about the opportunity to create a company, not just for our customers, but for our employees, stood for women empowerment. And we were excited to take a stance on that. I think we could have never imagined how unfortunately important it would be right now. But we couldn’t be more grateful to have a voice in this moment and stand up during a movement like “Me too” and be able to give a voice to others as well. 


Josh: Okay. So, one thing we do want to cover is how’s the round going? 


Jenna: Yeah. So, we are doing a first close at the end of this month. We’re super excited about some of the folks that we have involved. So, we have some celebrities, a few other successful founders. Yeah. So, we’re excited about where that can take us, and again, already translating that into some new hires, which we are also really excited about.


Josh: That is exciting. Who’s investing? 


Jane: So, a lot of them want to remain anonymous. One of them that we can say that we’re really excited about is an NBA player from the Golden State Warriors, Andre Aguadilla and Rudy Klein Thomas. So, we’re really excited to have them on board. We’re in close contact with Rudy quite a bit, and he’s been really supportive of everything that we’re working towards, which is great. It is a male-dominated fundraising world out there, and it’s really inspiring to us when we can find someone like Rudy who just can rally behind us the way that he has.


It sounds like Harper Wilde is well on their way. Which is really exciting. To me, it’s especially great to see inroads made by founders who are practicing what they preach. They care about female empowerment and they are actually doing something about it. Jenna and Jane told me that, among other things, they’re partnering with Glamour Magazine’s The Girl Project to give access to education for girls in over a hundred different companies, and they’re working Women Go Beyond, an initiative that provides female factory workers with skills they need to become economically independent. 


We wish Jenna and Jane the very best.


And we have a question for you, our dear listeners: when you see companies going above and beyond like this, does it make a difference to you as a consumer?


On our website, we’ve created a discussion section for our listeners. This week, we want to hear:


How important is brand identity to you when making purchasing decisions? Do you specifically seek out brands that are doing more than just selling their product? Or do you simply look for the absolute best product available on the market?


Join the discussion over at


Next week we’re doing something a little different. Stay tuned after the credits to hear more about it.


Our show is produced by me, Josh Muccio, Kareem Maddox and Molly Donahue. We are edited by Devon Taylor.

Our Theme Music is by Breakmaster Cylinder, with original music composed by The Muse Maker and Bobby Lord. We were mixed by Enoch Kim with help from Matt Boll.

Lisa Muccio plans our recording events, and thanks to Samira Sohail for her reporting on this episode.

Harper Wilde applied to be on the show, if you know of a founder who’s crushing it, send them (or yourself) on over to to be considered

You can find us on Twitter @thepitchshow and our email is [email protected]

And a quick disclaimer, no offer to invest is being made to or solicited from the listening audience on today’s show.

All right -- you’ve been listening to The Pitch from Gimlet Media. See you next week.


Next week on The Pitch: We asked you listeners for questions, and you delivered. On next week’s show, we have answers— from us, and from our investors—about building and pitching your business, getting acquired, and much more.

Phil NadelProfile Photo

Phil Nadel

Investor on The Pitch

Phil Nadel is the Founder and Managing Director of Forefront Venture Fund and of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest syndicates on AngelList. He has started and sold several companies and has invested in more than 200 startups with several exits.

Jillian Manus // Structure CapitalProfile Photo

Jillian Manus // Structure Capital

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1–10

Jillian Manus is Managing Partner of an early-stage Silicon Valley venture fund, Structure Capital. Branded “Architects of the Zero Waste Economy," they invest in underutilized assets and excess capacity. She was named one of the top 25 early-stage Female Investors by Business Insider in 2021. Jillian serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, these include: Stanford University School of Medicine Board of Fellows, NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Daniel GulatiProfile Photo

Daniel Gulati

Investor on The Pitch

Daniel Gulati is the Founder and Managing Partner at Treble Capital, an early stage investment firm that invests in consumer internet companies ranging from marketplaces, to gaming, to digital health. Before starting his own firm, Daniel was a serial entrepreneur, and then a managing director at Comcast Ventures. There, he he led investments in consumer startups that have since grown a combined enterprise value of $4 billion.

Charles Hudson // Precursor VenturesProfile Photo

Charles Hudson // Precursor Ventures

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 2–10

Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies. Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at SoftTech VC. In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure.

Jane Fisher

Co-founder at Harper Wilde

Jenna Kenner

Co-founder at Harper Wilde