Brandon Yahn, partner, Convivialité Ventures, is one of our 50 emerging leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.
Few investors manage to make GCV’s Emerging Leaders list once. Brandon Yahn, partner and co-founder of wine and spirit group Pernod Ricard’s Convivialité Ventures unit, has managed it two years running, during a time when its mission to ‘invest in fun’ has proven important.
“For me, it’s an ideal job,” he says. “I like investing in consumer technology, I like understanding how consumers behave and how that behaviour is changing and shifting over time, and whether businesses that are being created around that are capitalising on that need.”
Before helping to set up Convivialité Ventures, Yahn was involved in business development for startups including Datalogix and Credit Karma, before founding student loans repayment service Student Loans Guy as chief executive. It’s given him an insight into the challenges startups face.
“I’ve been in this role for almost six years now, but I was a founder and I worked in startups before,” he says. “For me, I still think the most important quality as an investor is empathy for the entrepreneur, understanding what they’re building and all the different things they need to manage, whether it’s growing a team or product, sales or managing investors.”
Ultimately, Convivialité Ventures has gone from a concept in 2017 to a fund with almost 50 investments and a team that covers the US, Europe, China and India. So, what’s next?
“I’d like to keep doing what we’re doing, taking on more responsibilities, both internally and externally, and making more of a name for ourselves,” Yahn says.
“As a venture team we’re still pretty under the radar. We’ve done virtually no press. We operate pretty much in the shadows and I think there’s an opportunity to maybe shout a bit more about what we do. But I think that time will come.”
See the rest of our Top 50 Emerging Leaders for 2023 here.