We’ve come a long way from the Great Toilet Paper Scramble of 2020.

While the desperate and often futile search for two-ply we faced in the spring was an early sign that COVID-19 would impact how we shop and consume for the foreseeable future, months later, we have a much clearer sense of customer behavior amid pandemic. Just take a look at your last credit-card statement.

As we’ve documented, BAM portfolio founders—like all savvy entrepreneurs—have used this unprecedented time to re-strategize, rebuild, and reimagine their companies. And a big part of that is reading the new consumer trend lines that have emerged, to help understand what they want and where they want it, now and perhaps longterm.

The good news? Some of what we were already working on before any of us had heard the term “novel coronavirus” have not only been proven out—but are accelerating even faster than we would’ve expected during so-called normal times.

We recently checked in with some of our BAM founders, to get their take on what they’ve learned from customers and how it’s helped their companies weather this past year—and charge into 2021.

Kent Yoshimura
Co-Founder and CEO

“All in all, there seems to be an increased consciousness toward health across consumers, which, thankfully, is the category we are deeply ingrained in. However, we experienced the undeniable shortcomings of retail locations closing down. To maintain our brand presence and connect deeper with our consumers, we aimed at expanding our social channels and customer communication.

“In general, boosting morale inside and outside Neuro became one of our main focuses. We shifted into becoming a more lifestyle-oriented brand that focused on mental health alongside physical health. Thankfully, this alongside PR has led to our business growing—even during these tough times.”


Hernan Lopez
Founder and CEO

“Back in March, when stay-at-home orders were in place everywhere, commuting went down, and with it, podcast-listening. But then something interesting happened: Listeners found ‘me-time’ to listen to podcasts at home. They started to listen later than usual, but they kept listening throughout the day.

“Through research, we know that there was pent-up demand for personal growth and inspirational content—which we provided with our newest show, The Daily Smile, and our special meditation episodes on Wondery+.”


Bassima Mroue

Co-Founder and CEO


“One of the biggest shifts in purchasing behavior is consumers getting more comfortable shopping for anything and everything online. Online grocery shopping and delivery increased. Before the pandemic, I would hear that most consumers would not ‘discover’ new beverage products online—but that has changed significantly. SkinTē launched in January 2019 as a DTC brand, so we were already focused on e-commerce as an important channel. Since COVID, we have accelerated this focus and launched on Amazon,SnackMagic, Goop, and GNC.com.  We can also be found on Instacart with retailers that carry us.  

“We also amplified our messaging around the health benefits of our product. For example, our herbs have an emotional and physical impact on well-being, so we talked about that aspect more. Our drinks always had 100% DV Vitamin C in each can, but we never called it out in our messaging. We are now bringing attention to the health benefits in a more direct way, while continuing to drive the message around beauty from the inside out. We were hearing from consumers that SkinTē is their “go-to COVID drink” because it makes them feel good. We noticed an increase in alcohol consumption, and since SkinTē was already gaining traction as a healthy mixer, we created more content and recipes to support our consumers. It’s like all the pieces were there, but we dialed up certain aspects as we listened to our consumer.”


Co-Founder and CEO

“COVID-19 has been the most impactful world event that anyone on our team has experienced, and as a diverse founder, these have been particularly complex times. Like all of us, our team has had to re-calibrate so many facets of our lives—emotional state, health and wellness, and macro-shifts in business. Prior to COVID-19, the lion’s share of our revenue came from influencer marketing strategy for brand clients. We planned to release a technology platform to help influencers better monetize affinity from their followers—but Coronavirus accelerated that plan. Now, we’re in over-drive to continue to develop our product as we grow with the tsunami of creator-monetization activity we serve.

“Narrate is a platform to empower creators to monetize their content, turning their passion into prosperity. Some estimate that 90% of the content consumed by Gen-Z is made by creators, rather than media companies. That cultural change along with the “COVID-shock” to our ecosystem has caused a massive shift. Creator behavior is now “monetization-first,” prioritizing actual currency over social currency. For us, that’s meant blistering month-over-month growth, a recent capital infusion, and our team bursting at the seams to keep up with demand. In the way Netflix is a go-to platform for media company-produced content, our mission is to be the go-to platform for creator-produced content. “Arming the rebels,” if you will. We sail forward with optimism in a time that can feel dark and we’re inspired by the livelihood we provide to so many of our creator-partners.”


Co-Founder and CEO
Art of Sport 


“As an omni-channel business, we've noted a number of changes in consumer behavior on and offline. At physical retail, we've observed an ebbing of discretionary spending, decreased impulse buying, and a sharp decrease in what we'd call 'dwell time,' as consumers shop what they know and quickly enter and exit stores. Online, we've seen spikes in media consumption across channels, an emphasis on self-care, specifically mental and physical wellness, along with a predictable and sustained increase in COVID-related search queries. This has translated to an emergence of niche DTC products and services, a noisy paid landscape, and aggressive pivoting by existing brands to address perceived, often baseless, opportunities in the short-term.

“As a central theme, important for us is a constant, real-time effort to define this new reality, establish clear baselines, and spot executable, lasting opportunities. In tandem and of equal importance is the rapid disqualification of opportunities, to avoid distractions and any misallocation of resources. We have also taken the opportunity to introduce a conservative approach to the business holistically, while investing early in outsized performance in the midterm (e.g. Q2 2021). In the short term, we've elected to 1) maintain our investment in broad awareness marketing stratagem (e.g. TV and OOH), 2) affirm the daily essential and value our products offer as part of healthy lifestyles, often delivered via influencer endorsement, and 3) supplement our promotional efforts with an active discount strategy which, we believe, correctly mirrors a depressed economic reality and near-term outlook.

“Lastly, we are seeing the investment we've made into the brand's authentic message—to inspire and promote resilience, tenacity, and success in the face of uncertainty—pay off meaningfully. We believe brands with this purpose will maintain positive traction and slingshot out of the post-COVID era.”


Jeffrey Chernick


“Vyng is building a video-based alternative to Truecaller. With Vyng, users can personalize their Caller ID profiles with videos, music, stickers, and messages whenever they call friends. Our new app is set to launch this month, and we are partnering with Qualcomm and Samsung to enable our technology on 90 million devices in India by the end of 2021.

“While COVID affected companies in every industry differently, we found that phone call rates grew 2X during the pandemic and increased conversation time by 33%. Without the ability to travel as freely, and of course working from home, the value proposition of Vyng only got stronger. As all business-development deals stalled back in March, we took the time to focus inward, rebuild our platform from scratch, and be ready to scale by the end of the year. We also cut expenses across the board to extend our runway.

“As for culture, prior to COVID, some engineers worked remotely but most worked in our Noida, India, office. Our team in LA was visiting our India office regularly. Now that everyone has been fully remote and no one is traveling, we’ve set up ways to connect and interact in a fun non-work way, to help make up for the social interactions we’ve lost. Every two weeks we have a culture event on Zoom to bond and play games like pictionary, charades, and even scavenger hunts in our own homes. We’ve also reimbursed employees for creating home offices and subsidized online fitness and meditation programs to help everyone make a smoother transition to this new normal.”

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