Funding consumer brands in 2023
Elly Truesdell, founder of New Fare Partners, on where she’s investing today, what’s changed, and how food startups can get ready for venture.
If I were starting a food brand, I would want Elly Truesdell, founder of New Fare Partners, on my cap table.
Before becoming a VC, Truesdell spent almost a decade at Whole Foods Market in a unique series of roles, eventually becoming global director of local brands and product innovation.
That means she explored the thousands of new food and consumer brands, picked the best ones, and helped them launch and scale their products in Whole Foods stores — a life-changing opportunity for many businesses. Also an incredible experience in data-gathering, deal flow, and network-building for a future investor.
Last year, Truesdell launched New Fare, an early stage venture capital firm based in New York, where she’s already invested in the snack brand Mid-Day Squares, the sauce brand Bachan’s, and Foxtrot, the modern convenience store chain that I profiled in depth last year.
It has been, as many of you know, a very weird couple of years for venture capital — and for consumer startups. Many firms have pulled back from investing in brands, instead focusing more on infrastructure.
So I wanted to get a sense of how Truesdell is thinking about the opportunity in consumer brands, where she’s spending her time as an investor, and how New Fare’s strategy has already changed.
What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation. Members can also listen to this interview as a podcast.
Dan Frommer: Thanks for joining me today, Elly. Let’s start with you and your firm. I’d love to hear the short story on your background — I know you had a cool career in grocery — and how you got into venture, and the beginnings of New Fare.
Elly Truesdell: The beginnings of New Fare really start, I guess, 15 years ago. I’ve been in the food industry for a long time. “Cool grocery career” is sort of funny to say, but I did — I had an unusual and pretty amazing ride at Whole Foods Market for almost ten years and started my career there.
Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.
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