VC Corner Q&A: Megan Holston-Alexander of Unusual Ventures

Megan Holston-Alexander is a Senior Associate at Unusual Ventures focused on building out and supporting Unusual’s consumer portfolio. While at Unusual, Holston-Alexander has been instrumental in launching and running the Unusual Interns Program and Unusual Academy.

Prior to Unusual and her MBA, Megan worked as the Program Director for All Stars Helping Kids where she managed the nonprofit’s incubator program, which gave new nonprofits funding and support with board governance, fundraising, and programming. She has held investment internships at Omidyar Network, Foundation Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Megan earned her BA in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University, an MA in Sociology from the University of Houston, and her MBA from Stanford University.

— What is Unusual Venture’s mission?

Our fund’s mission is to support early stage startup founders in the most critical points of company building. Our goal is to not just give advice, but to help deliver on key milestones early in the entrepreneur’s journey.

— What’s one thing you are excited about right now?

Our Unusual Interns program! This summer, we are launching a partnership between Unusual Ventures, several historically black colleges and universities and a number a high-growth startups to bring CS students from traditionally underrepresented minorities to work in technical internships in Silicon Valley and New York City.

— Who is one founder you think we should watch?

There’s a founder that I’ll be chatting with for my blog soon (A Black Girl in Venture). Her name is Lilbeth Yeo and she is the Co-founder and CEO of Goumi Kids. As a new mom, I’ve been crazy about baby and children’s products these days. Goumi Kids is an online retail platform designed to provide organic baby clothes and essentials.

— What are the 3 top qualities of every great leader?

1. Courage

2. Empathy

3. Vision

— What and when was your very first investment? What struck you about them?

I’ve worked in tandem of some great deals but I’m still working toward my very first investment that I’ve done 100% on my own. But I’ve got a good feeling its on its way!

— What’s one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

As a firm, we always ask the three whys:

1. Why should the customer do anything?

2. Why now?

3. Why YOU?

— What’s one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

Have I done my research on this investor and are they (or at least seem to be) the right fit for me? This is in reference to investment size, industry focus, company-building expertise.

— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?

  1. People
  2. Product
  3. Traction

— Favorite business book, blog, podcast?

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman and of course my own blog, A Black Girl in Venture!

— What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

I’m 8.5 months pregnant right now, so I’m going to go with eating and sleeping!

— What’s one interesting thing that most people don’t know about you?

I’m a former pageant girl. Crazy, I know. I was Miss Clark Atlanta University (my alma mater), Miss Black Texas USA, and placed top 10 in Miss Black USA. But that was a LONG time ago.

— What’s one piece of advice you’d give to every founder?

#unpopularopinion — You are the decision maker. Don’t let anyone impede on that. Take advice, learn in places you are weak, tap into folks with expertise to GUIDE you but ultimately, if you have a vision for yourself and for your company, go with that!

Ready to make a pitch? Startups looking for an opportunity to pitch Unusual Ventures can apply here!

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Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

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