When Rachel Drori, founder of Daily Harvest, was raising her Series A, she had an investor ask her this question: How do you plan to be a good mother and an entrepreneur?
The bad news is, this is a situation that many female entrepreneurs still find themselves in. The good news is, Rachel came up with the perfect answer, and you can use it, too.
First, here’s her elevator pitch for Daily Harvest: “Daily Harvest makes ready to blend smoothies, ready to heat soups, chia parfaits, overnight oats, all of the incredible drool-worthy foods that you see all over Instagram, frozen, delivered to your door, and ready to eat in seconds.” Listen to Rachel give her elevator pitch here.
Rachel came up with the idea when she realized that she was either eating trail mix for lunch or sacrificing entire Sundays to meal prep—and when her husband started stealing the healthy and delicious frozen meals she had spent all that time making. She wished someone else would just do the prep for her… and Daily Harvest became that someone else.
In our hour-long conversation, Rachel impressed me over and over again with her entrepreneurial acumen, and we geeked out over everything from product-market fit to the best ratio of lifetime value to customer acquisition cost. If you like to get in the weeds on how to start and scale a company, this is the podcast for you.
But I may have been most impressed by her handling of investors. Here are three examples that illustrate her particular flair:
1) Answering a no-win, gendered question.
When asked, “How do you plan to be a good mother and an entrepreneur?” here’s what Rachel did: “I thought, and I was very quiet, and I kind of went inside of myself, and I flipped it, and I was so proud of this moment. What I said is, if what you are asking me is if I am 100% committed to making Daily Harvest successful then my answer is yes.”
This is brilliant, because she doesn’t fight back at this rude and ridiculous question. The temptation, of course, is to point out the absurdity, and the fact that no one ever asks male entrepreneurs how they plan to balance fatherhood with working on a company. Instead, Rachel stayed on task, and highlighted her unwavering dedication to her startup.
2) Dealing with celebrity investors.
Serena Williams is an investor in Daily Harvest, along with her husband Alexis Ohanian, and Rachel says that the investment came about because, “they consumed Daily Harvest every single morning, and they were huge fans, and just wanted to get involved.”
But she explains further, “I don’t love celebrity endorsements. I feel like they are so transparent. People just see through it, and it’s not organic. So for me it was a great moment to get celebrity investment, but I never want to tell them how to talk about Daily Harvest. They kind of put their money where their mouth is, that to me is the ultimate endorsement. And then it is up to them to share their story, and their interactions with the brand, how they please.”
She’s right: too often celebrity endorsements feel canned, the opposite of the authentic enthusiasm that Rachel has worked so hard to build for Daily Harvest. By letting Serena Williams and other celebrity investors speak for themselves, she maintains this authenticity.
3) Raising the single largest round raised by a female in 2017.
Rachel raised $43 million in her Series B, the single largest round raised by a female in 2017. Here’s how she did it. For six months before beginning to fundraise, she had casual conversations with investors who were interested in Daily Harvest, and refused to share a single number. She also made sure that the company had a terrific quarter.
When she was ready to start fundraising, she only talked with four firms: “I kind of turned the power around and I said, hey you guys were the only ones who have made it through my screening process, and now let’s talk. And here are the numbers, and I know you are going to be blown away, and guess what, this round has to be closed two weeks from now.”
Listen to our conversation for the full story on all of these points—I guarantee you will not be disappointed.