I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

The best Boston investor you probably never heard of

Daily Grommet just completed a Series A funding round.  Happy days.  We attracted a best and brightest group of investors who have themselves founded, built, and financed world-class companies.   They believe in our vision to totally disrupt and reform how consumer products get discovered and shared.

We’ll use the new funds to share the Daily Grommet message,  and attract more people to submit, share, and support Grommet ideas.  Shepherding a startup that launched the week of the October 2008 market crash has been no easy feat.  Our team gets lots of credit for that.  But the unsung heroes are the early investors who stood by our side throughout this “nerves-of-steel” time period.

We have a raft of smart investors, but today I am highlighting just one: Jill Preotle, who took a board seat and a lead investor position at Daily Grommet.    Jill is a co-founder of the Boston Golden Seeds Fund (with Jean Hammond, also a very respected investor). Jill serves on the boards of technology and consumer companies, like  Zipcar, Dancing DeerRedTail Solutions, iTeam and TaskRabbit.   Jill’s seen a lot, and been a key contributor to meaningful entrepreneurial success.

As our attorney, Larry Gennari told me about Jill,

Jill is careful where she puts her marker down, but she is a steady supporter once she does.  She is tough, insightful, and of the highest character .  She is a very good board member who asks the right questions and makes sure that the investors are well represented.

Bob Kagle, of Benchmark Venture Capital, serves on the Zipcar board with Jill and says,

Jill is very sharp.  She makes her points elegantly, and humbly,  but it’s always the point everyone else wishes they thought of.

Jill and I originally connected because she was one of my coaches for the 2008 Springboard All Things Media Venture Capital Forum.  We met at a Back Bay cafe for coffee and I liked her immediately.  I remember that I blabbed on too long, and I later heard from a mutual acquaintance, “Jill would like to invest in Daily Grommet, but she said you don’t seem interested.”  Nothing was further from the truth…I just missed the signals.  Of course, I quickly approached Jill, and she has been a steady supporter ever since.

Like most startups, Daily Grommet has had a few near-death moments.  During one such nauseating time period, Jill said, “We can’t let Daily Grommet die.  Here is what I am prepared to do….”  We lived to see another day because of Jill.

Every entrepreneur probably has an investor hero story.   After Jill bridged us through that near death experience, our CMO Jeanne Connon said, “In Jill Preotle I trust.”  I told that to Jill and she replied, “In Daily Grommet I trust.”

We are working hard to deserve that trust.

9 Responses to “The best Boston investor you probably never heard of”

  1. Carol Fishman Cohen

    Jules, I saw Jill in action when I was a guest at a Golden Seeds Boston meeting well over a year ago. Interesting and wonderful to hear about her pivotal role at Grommet. Amazing people (Jules) attract amazing people (Jill). Congrats on this major financing round. What a huge milestone. Carol

    Reply
  2. Jeff Bennett

    Congrats to you Jules and all the Grometeers! I have great respect for the focus, diligence and commitment your team has for this exciting venture. DailyGrommet is breaking new ground everyday. Good luck putting the capital to good work. Onward!

    -Jeff

    PS I agree Jill is a pretty special person. Great vision to invest in such cool ideas that have become companies!

    Reply
  3. NancyVerve

    Woot! Woot! Congrats to you, Jules, and the DG team!

    What you do is so important to those of us with small businesses. Wonderful to see that those in a position to support you see that, too! (And this story is extra inspiring, as we’re just embarking on our funding journey, so this gives me hope that there will be a happy ending like yours!) So, thanks!

    Reply
  4. Amy Millman

    Another great Springboard Success story. Glad to have had even a small role in your success. If you don’t mind, we’ll wait to celebrate in June when all your SB colleagues can join in. I’m bringing the champagne (with Michelle’s Miracle for color)

    Reply
    • julespieri

      Yay! I look forward to that. I am grateful for the exposure Springboard gave me….to many talented entrepreneurs like Susan Strausberg, and to Jill Preotle, and other helpful people like Alan Patricof and Gerry Labourne. You are doing important work Amy.

      Reply

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