“This ain’t grey sweat suits and white tube socks
This is black leather pants and a pair of Stance socks”
Jay-Z, “F.U.T.W.

Venture Capitalists often leverage pattern recognition to help us identify great investments; at the same time, it’s important to remember that some of the biggest and best ideas don’t fit any patterns.

That’s according to Stance Chairman and CEO Jeff Kearl, whom I interviewed at a recent NVCA event. Jeff’s career highlights span from co-founding Logoworks and SkullCandy; serving in strategic operational roles at HP and MediConnect; to investing in startups such as Uber as an angel investor and VC. In 2009, Jeff founded apparel company Stance, which sells stylish socks and underwear made of luxurious and durable materials.

The Stance brand, which represents a celebration of human originality, has amassed a cult following among celebrities, skateboarders, tech geeks, and more. In 2015, Stance was named the official sock of the NBA, and in 2016 it became the official sock of the MLB. To date, Stance has raised $116m in venture funds.

Watch my interview with Jeff to hear his advice for founders and VCs, as well as his tips on brand-building, startup growth, market fit, and company culture.

Big thanks to Jeff Kearl for taking the time to share your experience and insights, and for keeping it real.