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Zac Zeitlin is the Founder of New Ground Ventures, a venture capital investment platform established to fund and support breakthrough companies. They invest in companies from the early seed stage up to businesses with $10 million in sales.

New Ground Ventures have a particular focus on food, health and wellness, education, and technology. Some of the companies they have invested in include Pipedrive, Zevia, Kevita, and many others.

Before starting New Ground Ventures, Zac was a Partner at Silver Point Capital and worked as a Private Equity Investor at Goldman Sachs & Co.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Zac Zeitlin first discovered Pipedrive and why he invested in them
  • Zac  shares how he supports their founders at New Ground Ventures
  • The idea behind the founding of New Ground Ventures
  • Zac reveals his biggest investment misses
  • How Zac discovered Zevia
  • The checkboxes Zac uses when considering a company to invest in
  • Zac talks about an outlier company that he invested in and why he decided to invest
  • How Zac built his team at New Ground Ventures
  • How New Ground Ventures finds companies to invest in
  • Zac recalls a remarkable story of an underdog company that later became successful
  • Zac explains why the initial days of founding a company is the most challenging for an investor
  • Zac shares why exits can be fun but also anticlimactic and how he endorses companies to other potential investors

In this episode…

Investing in early-stage startups is a risky venture. But Zac Zeitlin left his senior role at a large fund, took the risk to become an amateur angel investor, and founded New Ground Ventures. He has since made some big wins, a few big misses, and a portfolio of over 50 companies.

For Zac, investing in early-stage startups has been about doing what he is passionate about and investing in companies he believes in. So how does Zac go about investing in notable startups like Pipedrive, Zevia, Kevita?

Take a peek at Zac Zeitlin’s playbook for investing in early-stage startups on this episode of Inspired Insider with Dr. Jeremy Weisz. Zac talks to Dr. Weisz about how he discovered some of the companies he’s invested in, what his company, New Ground Ventures, look out for in a company before they decide to invest, why he considers the initial stages of founding a company to be the most challenging, and more. Stay tuned.

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of Inspired where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs leaders. Today’s guest is founder of New Ground Ventures I’ll introduce them in a second but without knowing I have featured several of their companies actually Pipedrive co-founder knows that Zac, you know as co founder Omas came on, he talked about brain surgery getting married and moving to Estonia, to the us all in the same year. And the time they had 10,000 paying customers. When I interviewed them in 2013. Now they have over 100,000 customers. It’s amazing. One Hope wine which I am one of those customers One Hope Wine at the time when I interviewed Jake, the founder they have gone they went from zero to selling over 750,000 bottles a year. One Hope Wine at the time had donated more than $2 million to date, helping provide over 1.1 million meals to people in need and plant 56,000 trees it’s probably a lot more now. So check them out. And before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 I co founded my business partner John Corcoran, and we help business to business. You know we help b2b businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 partnerships and clients and we help them run their podcast. And for me, Zac, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at a way to give to my best relationships and a podcast is allowed me to profile, others thought leadership and bring them on to talk about what they’re up to. So if you have questions about podcasting go to And, you know, a big thank you to Jason Rottman, who referred today’s guest and he helps business owners and families use life insurance to protect and grow assets. The same methods ultra rich use so fun fact is he played football, Princeton, and we sat next to each other in geometry in high school. So Zac Zeitlin is founder of New Ground Ventures and New Ground is a venture capital investment platform established to fund and support breakthrough companies and they invest from early seed stage to business with as much as $10 million in sales. And they have a particular focus on food, health and wellness education technology. Some companies I have used or consumed that they’ve invested in include Kevita, which is a delicious drink which I think accident since then. A probiotics Kombucha Cobra, which I’ve tried delicious coconut water, and other frozen treats Zevia, all healthy stuff Zac because I love what you guys do. And Zevia is you have to check it out. It’s it’s natural, and there’s no sweetener, artificial sweetener in it, and Pipedrive, which I mentioned before, you could check out to check out everything they’re doing. Prior to starting New Ground Venture Zac was a partner at Silver Point Capital and worked as private equity investor at Goldman Sachs. So Zac, thanks for joining me.

Zac Zeitlin

Thank you.

Jeremy Weisz

Do you remember pipe drive? How’d you first discover Pipedrive?

Zac Zeitlin

I do actually one of my business partners and great friends, Sunny Vanderbeck founder of Satori co founder Satori Capital. At the time this is before I launch new ground, we were collaborating on early stage investments. So you just started using pipedrive? It’s funny, you mentioned I think, 10,000 customers, I don’t remember the number of customers. But I think the common metric in SAS companies. They were doing something like 4000 No, sorry. 400,000? Um, no, no. So it’s probably 40,000 of monthly revenue. monthly revenue was just really just getting started. And I think so that’s how we discovered it as customers suddenly emailed them. They said we’d love to talk, we had a conversation. It was one of those, Jeremy where we kind of made a very quick decision. didn’t necessarily have to, but we knew the product we knew was pretty simple. We saw their very early metrics, but we made an early investment bet on a team and a great product. And in that case, they got very fortunate. And that’s one that’s just been a an awesome, awesome one to watch for a long time now.

Jeremy Weisz

They’re amazing. Yeah. What did you see in the team? And you mentioned specifically the team. So not just the product? What did you see in the product and the team at the time?

Zac Zeitlin

Yeah, so quickly. on the product side, I had a little bit of experience with Salesforce at my prior company, and enough just to know that people have a lot of challenges using it and complicated, people would complain about it and then maybe just convert to using a simple spreadsheet and pipedrive was just very simple, lightweight way to manage it. You sure know as a customer, to manage your pipeline in any way investor pipeline, your sales pipeline, really kind of anything. And, and so that that just it was a product that worked, you could see using on the team side, it was one I think the team was we’re all they’re almost all I think involved in sales training business, they had a good amount of sales experience. And it was admittedly more gut instinct, but a couple of calls, we liked how they talked about their business, like their strategy, but we could kind of sense that they had just really good native selling skills. And that was good for how they could grow the business but also meant you kind of told us, they knew their customer, they knew what it was to be a small business owner, maybe a one to one to five employees, managing a sales pipeline, or maybe just a small team within a larger company, trying to kind of pursue leads efficiently. That was who they knew. And they’ve always kind of spoken to that audience really well. I don’t want the product obviously. But their their communications and the integrations they’ve chosen to make. So um, so that was, it was kind of what we saw, I’ll tell you one other thing, even from the get go. They’re one of the teams that was just very consistent about putting out a simple but really helpful update. Like every month in to the almost to the day, you kind of hear your hero metrics, good, bad how you can help. And literally You mean, I Funny enough, I mentioned I got one today, huh? j company now like they don’t need that anymore. But they’re just systematic about tracking, tracking and metrics reporting. And I think that’s one thing. It’s just super highly correlated to good overall performance.

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