IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of Listen Ventures

September 1, 2021

The new member participants in the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) keeps expanding, giving the current membership new opportunities in networking and offering support/partnerships, as well as exchanging guidance and new ideas for Venture Capital, Private Equity and support industries. The latest new member is Listen Ventures, whose mission is to “back and build the brands of tomorrow.”
The following is a Q&A profile with Listen Ventures which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.
New Member: Listen Ventures
Representative: Jeff Cantalupo, Founder & Managing Partner
IVCA: What is a brief history and background on Listen Ventures?
Listen Ventures: Founded in 2010, Listen is a consumer-focused Venture Capital firm based in Chicago. Listen’s team of investors and brand experts operate a concentrated investment strategy partnering with visionary entrepreneurs to build the brands of tomorrow. We invest in brands that have a purpose bigger than their product, drive growth through community and are capital efficient. This differentiates and creates long term value.
IVCA: Why did the firm decide to join the Illinois Venture Capital Association?
Listen Ventures: The IVCA is a great community to be a part of, offering a wealth of knowledge share and information on the Private Equity and Venture Capital industries. We are excited to participate in the community and learn from the leaders within our Venture industry. 
IVCA: Your firm takes an almost holistic approach to investing, especially in regard to the shifts in human nature and interaction with brands. How does this approach create the dynamic that allows for your investment philosophy?
Listen Ventures: As consumer investors we have to be students of culture and human behavior. Through listening, we identify shifts in behavior and look for opportunities to build brands to help lead those emerging narratives. 
IVCA: Your prominent slogan is "We fund the brands that listen to consumers." Within that narrative, how has branding evolved in the last ten years? 
Listen Ventures: Good ‘branding’ has become table stakes, but building a brand has never been more important. The biggest shift in the last 10 years is the rise of social and mobile, making the voice of the consumer more powerful than that of the established brands. In this new world, brands that truly listen and bring the voice of the customer to the table through community will win both mindshare and market share. 
IVCA: You are a lecturer and podcaster. What information do you think is most vital now for the Venture and investment community as we still struggle within a pandemic? 
Listen Ventures: It will be important to identify what pandemic trends are here to stay and why. The pandemic ushered in significant behavior shifts for all of us and pulled forward some trends by years, but others will be fleeting as we get back to the ‘new normal.’
IVCA: What does Listen Venturs hope to achieve in their interaction with the VC/PE community within the IVCA?
Listen Ventures: We are excited to listen and participate in active dialog about the future of our industry. The private capital markets have never been more dynamic and things are changing fast, we hope our engagement  with IVCA will keep our ear to the ground for the most important changes impacting our industry. 
For the website of Listen Ventures, click here.