Meet the driving force behind Fiat Ventures - our Team - in the Team Spotlight Series. In this first edition we'll feature Drew Glover, one of our Co-Founders and General Partner at Fiat Ventures. Drew brings a new and diverse perspective along with his growth marketing expertise to what we excel at: investing in the future of Fintech, supporting and growing the next generation of teams and founders.
Raised in East Oakland, Drew has an unconventional background for a venture capital investor. His father worked at a housing non-profit. His mother was a teacher. Nearby Silicon Valley was alluring but he also grew up with a deep sense of civic engagement and has always wanted to find a balance between monetary success and having impact. In 2019, he co-founded Fiat Growth, a San Francisco-based consulting firm for growth-stage brands in industries from fintech to e-commerce. And that created a path to start Fiat Ventures, a venture capital firm he co-founded in 2021 with partner Alex Harris and Marcos Fernandez. They raised $15 million for their first fund and now have $25 million in total assets under their management.
Did you ever consider joining a more established VC firm? I tried to work at prominent VC funds. I was never let in the door. I have a very unconventional path. I didn't go to business school. I didn't work for one of the big four financial firms. I had to fight, tooth and nail, to get let into this room. One of my dreams was to work for some of the big ones. You know, Sequoia, Accel, A16z, all those folks. But I either wasn't let in the door or, frankly, I just didn't have the confidence to go apply because I knew what that archetype looked like. And it looked nothing like me. Being a Black kid from the inner city of Oakland all the way to me not having a conventional education to me not having a conventional experience. It also means not having a built-in network in that space that would help me get into that world and help navigate it.
What is Fiat doing that is different? By us creating this space within Fiat Ventures, we've been able to create a world where we can set our own rules. By creating the environment we're in, it's given us the ability to provide a level of creativity and thoughtfulness that a lot of these venture funds that have been around for the last 50 years just aren't able to do because they're not able to be nimble. They're not able to see life through the eyes of someone like myself and the Fiat Ventures team.
Does the VC industry tend to underestimate the potential of historically underrepresented founders? There are too many VC’s with similar perspectives in the world. There's a huge opportunity to bring a diversified point of view into the room. I'm Black. My managing partner is Hispanic. My other managing partner is white and Jewish. There's a lot of nuance that we're able to bring into the conversation that enables us to perform unique diligence. We're able to better understand the opportunity of what a business can become - our unique views of the world are folded into every discussion.
On your website, it says that you invest in startups that reflect the market a decade from today. What you mean by that? As investors, especially early-stage investors, we need to evaluate a company on two things: who they are today and who they'll be in the future. Like most VCs, we invest through the power law. You probably heard the term moonshot - Is this going to be a $20 billion to $50 billion business? As we're investing in businesses, we're investing in the team. We're investing in the idea. We're investing in the product. We’re looking at a business based on how it will look 10, even 15, years from now. It’s our job to see and invest in the future.
What is your favorite thing about the VC industry? Being at the forefront of the future. Being able to meet some of the smartest, most courageous people in business. Being able to bring a very unique perspective in a world that I feel like doesn't have a lot of that perspective. Honestly, what I love most about it is being a Black man with a Black man's point of view in a white world. It's something that I don't take for granted.
You were also on U.C. Berkeley’s football team. Have you always been a big sports person? Yeah, I played every sport imaginable. Tennis, basketball, football, ran track. I'm pretty darn good at ping pong. I just love games and competition. My dad was obsessed with sports, and I was obsessed with what my dad was obsessed with. My mom loves sports, too. I'd be roller skating with her, ice skating with her, and then going to play football and basketball with my dad. If I was outside playing and sweating, I was having the time of my life. Baseball was the only sport I never played. My dad never let me quit, but he let me quit baseball because the coach was cursed like a sailor and my dad wasn’t having that.
Did you have a hero growing up? My dad passed away when I was 26, but he was my hero. I feel like all my soft skills I pulled from him. He was also the person who exposed me to all kinds of people (race, socioeconomic, industry, business, personality etc.)
Favorite sports teams? I stay true to Oakland even though all of our teams have left. Still a Raiders fan and a Warriors fan. Still an A’s fan too.
Other hobbies or favorite pastimes? I love to cook. I grew up watching the Food Network and obsessively watched cooking videos on YouTube when I was a kid. Both my parents worked. So during long summer days in between sport practice, I would be at home experimenting in the kitchen. Ultimately it turned into a big hobby. My wife loves that I cook everything and am always cooking something new.
Favorite local restaurants? Mama's Royal Cafe and Arizmendi in Oakland CA
Three things that are always in your fridge or kitchen? Right now miso is one of my favorites. Also, miso in cookies — I love all things sweet and salty. I'm also on like a big vinegar kick right now. Fresh herbs as well.
Dream dinner guest? Michelle Obama. Don't get me wrong, I love Barack. But I find there's so many more lessons to be learned from the number two, even more so than the number one, because they have such deep knowledge into what makes the front person
work. Also, I just feel like they're much better. They're more operators than just visionaries.
What was your first car? A hand-me-down gray 1992 Toyota Camry with a gold Toyota emblem. I remember feeling proud of that golf emblem. It was a great car.
If you want to connect with the team to learn more, feel free to reach out to Maria Horta, email@example.com, with any questions!
-The Fiat Ventures Team