Stuart Landesberg has raised millions in startup capital to create a new consumer-driven experience that puts more products in homes that are good for them and the environment.
As a founder Landesberg has learned a lot about leadership, teams, and scaling startups. We caught up on a new episode of the DealMakers podcast, where he shared how he got started, what he’s learned about working with the best investors and the perseverance it takes to build a venture that really makes it.
What Makes A Great Company That Can Last?
Stuart Landesberg graduated from Amherst College and went to work at Lehman Brothers at probably the worst time in history. From his perspective, the experience was certainly “educational.”
Despite the fact that Lehman nose-dived into bankruptcy soon after he arrived, Stuart told the DealMakers audience that there were a lot of great lessons gleaned from that time.
From Stuart‘s point of view, firstly, even though giant companies like Lehman can appear somewhat bulletproof, they are still vulnerable. Size and public perception of being ‘successful’ don’t mean that bad things can’t happen. That also means never taking things for granted when your business seems to be going well.
Even at the scale of Lehman Brothers, Landesberg says he found that business is still just the combination of collaborative efforts of a lot of great people. It is still very personal.
Following that experience, he had stints at Vincraft Group and private equity firm TPG. There he had the chance to meet a ton of brilliant executives and entrepreneurs in a very short amount of time and on both sides of the table.
There he learned a lot about the patterns of successful CEOs and mergers. He found the most successful were the leaders who were most passionate about their people. As well as the operators who really understood their consumer and were able to execute on those insights with great decision-making. It was really the difference-making factor in an industry.
He also took away the value of comfort with intellectual honesty. Which can be an unusual but highly valuable skill in this environment. Specifically being able to acknowledge uncomfortable truths.
In Search Of Sustainability
Next for this entrepreneur was starting Toro Investment Partners. A venture with an eye on long-term investing, looking for companies that had sustainable, competitive advantages, and that would do in the public markets what Stuart and his partner had been doing at TPG.
Stuart says he has always cared deeply about sustainability. Something he picked up from his parents at a young age.
He realized that what is found on the shelf at most grocery and retail stores is driven just by big brands that have extraordinary marketing budgets and hundreds of billions of dollars of trade stand. It is not necessarily a reflection of the values of the consumers who shop in those stores, or what they really want if they have the choice.
He also saw that products in the sustainable category are still almost 90% offline. At the apex of these two trends, Stuart saw the possibility of a very big business possible that would have a positive impact on the world. Stuart shard this is a big vision that many have, but few have gained traction on.
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