Amanda Groves, 28
Company: Plus Capital
Business: Venture capital
Location: Marina del Ray
What led you to this business and to this role?
I started my career at JP Morgan. I figured out that I was more interested in private investing than in public investing like stocks or bonds. A former colleague knew that I was ready for a new role and introduced me to (Plus Capital founder) Adam Lilling. Our meeting went great, and I put in my (resignation) notice the next day. I started at Plus in 2016 as an associate. I became a partner near the beginning of 2019. I’m very thankful that I fell into this spot. It’s a great place (where I can) see myself making a career.
What are the advantages and disadvantages to being in this position in your 20s?
I’d say there’s an obvious disadvantage in the way that I’m perceived by prospective investors. They may prefer to give their capital to other investors with more years of experience under their belt. That being said, I often find that same judgement/hesitation to be an advantage as well — it really fuels my fire to succeed on behalf of our celebrity clients and limited partners. There is an incredible opportunity presented when you’re underestimated — to outperform and surprise is such a tremendous feeling on both sides of the table.
Do you think there are any specific advantages to your line of work in L.A.?
Yes, absolutely. With what we do at Plus — advisory and (venture capital) investing — there are two aspects that really benefit our business. It would be exceptionally hard to advise artists and athletes outside of L.A. All of the best business managers (and) attorneys are based (here). Second, (L.A.) is a new ecosystem in the world of venture. It used to be called Silicon Beach, but now I think it’s really becoming its own thing. It’s at the beginning phases of what is going to be a very important component of the global venture capital ecosystem in its own right, not just an offshoot of Silicon Valley.
Where do you go for business advice?
Absolutely my business partner Adam Lilling. He’s been around a plethora of startups and has been a great adviser to me over the years. Howard Morgan is known as sort of the godfather of venture capital. He’s been an exceptional mentor for me as well. There is also a former professor of mine, Stephen Etter at Haas (School of Business at UC Berkeley). His experience as an educator and his background in business have made him an invaluable resource.
How has the pandemic affected your role, and how are you responding?
We’ve never been busier. Part of it is who we work with. Most of the best artists and athletes in the world are not working right now, so they have more time to think of their legacy. They are thinking about their existing relationships and about investing in new companies.
While it looked like new deal flow was going to slow down for a bit at the start of this, that hasn’t really been the case. When the economy started to slow, a lot of interesting new deals became available (due to lower valuations).
How much do you factor in a company’s social responsibility when you make investment decisions?
It’s a huge component of what we focus on. The mandate at Plus is to develop products or services that are good for the world. We are always looking for ways to improve society. There are some clear examples, like investments in meat alternatives, as well as less obvious examples like packaging companies that are focused on sustainable processes.
What do you do for fun?
I played soccer in college, so I run a lot and explore the city that way. I also recently picked up surfing. And I have a sweet tooth, and so I love to bake.
Keep reading the 2020 edition of the 20 in Their 20s special report.