When Amanda Groves began her career in private equity, she expected to draw on an affinity for numbers and the competitive spirit that earned her a spot on the Cal women’s soccer team. What’s surprised her is how success boils down to listening.
“So much of the deal sourcing and evaluation of opportunities is done by talking to experts, other investors, or other entrepreneurs,” says Groves, partner at PLUS Capital, a venture capital and advisory firm for elite celebrities and athletes. “Everyone has something you can learn from.”
Groves was working in J.P. Morgan’s institutional wealth management group in 2016 when she met PLUS founder Adam Lilling. She was immediately sold on the idea of matching artists and athletes with top entrepreneurs. “It was a chance to amplify the missions of businesses with the ability to change the world,” she says.
For example, Olympic snowboarder Shaun White cared about optimizing health, so Groves arranged a tasting of plant-based meat substitutes at Beyond Meat. White’s investment paid off handsomely for all parties after the company went public in 2019.
PLUS celebrity clients Matthew McConaughey and Cameron Diaz actively engage with companies. “Cameron has interviewed female founders she’s backed on Instagram Live,” says Groves. “Matthew invested in a sports media company called The Athletic and will help them scale within the Austin sports ecosystem.”
Indeed, the rising profile of entrepreneurs over the past decade leads to electrifying results for PLUS. “Venture capital is now a very sexy industry,” Groves says. “These founders are celebrities to our clients.”