Top 50 Rising Stars 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Brandon Yahn, principal, Convivialité Ventures

“I lead US investments for Convivialité Ventures, the corporate venturing group for [France-headquartered liqueur group] Pernod Ricard,” said principal Brandon Yahn. “We started the fund in 2017, and I am one of the two founding team members.”

Pernod Ricard is the second-largest wine and spirits company in the world with brands such as Absolut, Jameson and Glenlivet, said Yahn, who added: “Our focus is to partner and invest in consumer startups in the convivialité space that reinvent the way people socialise, entertain and share experiences together. We have also recently expanded investment into consumer products and business-to-business companies that can be helpful for our brands.

The unit invests across stages, typically starting at series A, and has worked with our portfolio companies through follow-ons into later-stages through series D and E. Yahn has led all of Convivialité Ventures’ investments to date across the US and Europe, including Zola, AvantStay, Glovo, Fever, Peerspace, Common, Wave, IRL and Liquid Death.

Yahn continued: “I have been [with Convivialité Ventures] from the beginning, so we have had a lot to be proud of. At first, it was completing our first investment, our first markup, the first strategic partnership, then having our first unicorn.

“Most importantly, it is working closely with our entrepreneurs to help them build successful businesses and making our brands aware of the latest consumer trends and tools to grow their business.

“The unique part of being in a CVC is that, in addition to financial returns, we exist to provide strategic value to both our startup companies and to our core business. This can be from direct partnerships created through our investment or in strategic insights on consumer behaviour that can guide the roadmap for our brands. We are the ones at the company in charge of understanding the future of our consumer experiences.”