Longtime VC Stuart Rudick: ‘The biggest opportunity today is water’
Stuart Rudick, founding partner of the VC firm Mindfull Investors, has long been an early adopter. When he was bar mitzvahed at 13 his father asked him what he wanted to do with the $2k he had been gifted. “I said, ‘I want to invest it,’” Rudick recalls.
But it was a bear market, and Rudick learned from his quick losses to pay closer attention to undervalued assets. After college, he rose quickly at Bear Stearns and then in 1983 started his own investment firm, Mindfull Investors. The firm’s mission was ahead of its time: investing in companies that promote health and wellness and those that have leaders who believe in health and wellness.
Rudick’s investments have included Earthlink.net, Muse, which makes brain-sensing headbands for meditation purposes, the organic food company Urban Remedy, and “clean greens” company Organic Girl. He hasn’t been perfect: Mindfull was also a key investor in the failed blockbuster juicing startup Juicero (known as the “greatest example of Silicon Valley stupidity”).
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The signal: As more people wave goodbye to dairy, alternative milk is slowly taking over; it has already cornered 13% of the market. With the exception of soy milk, all of the alt-milks have been on the up, with some of the newer entrants including hemp milk and pea milk. Other alt-products are getting attention, including cashew cheese, with 18100 searches per month.
Capitalizing on the Airpods market, making more money than Shopify
The signal: Since killing the headphone jack, Apple has graced the world with AirPods, which did an estimated 60m units in 2019. That means AirPods alone are bringing in approx ~$10b in revenue, more than Twitter, Shopify, or Spotify, to name a few popular tech giants. Opportunity lies in Apple opening up SiriOS or the wave of iPhone accessories (including cases, cleaning kits, hooks, and keychains) which have shown “hockey stick” growth alongside their hardware predecessor.
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