Why I Joined Bonfire


Deb Goldstein


October 5, 2021

All investors are not created equal.

I’ve spent the better part of my career running marketing for start-ups at various stages of growth, and I’ve come to understand what good, and not so good, VC support looks like.  

I remember well the early days of Slyp, an Australian retail-tech company where I was the head of marketing. We were constantly hungry for advice, validation, and practical ‘sleeves rolled up’ operational support. We had a number of notable venture partners supporting us, however, there was one that stood out above the rest. Not because of its size or portfolio, in fact, that didn’t matter at all. The six individuals that made up this VC firm became an extension of our team. Whether it was strategic advice, introducing us to retail operators (a game-changer for us), or celebrating our wins, they were the one VC partner we could always call, and who would always show up. It was the first time in my career where I saw a VC truly extend beyond a capital provider and into a solutions partner, actually helping drive the business. This made all the difference to us at that stage in our existence.

That experience always stuck with me, and that’s why I’m embarking on this journey with Bonfire today. When I was interviewing with the team for their newly created Head of Marketing & Platform role, I found the same type of DNA present.

Three things really stood out to me during that interview process:

  1. I met with every single person on the team, more than once. Culture and chemistry are on the top of my ‘priority list’, and I quickly ticked both boxes.
  2. I was able to speak to a couple of their portfolio founders as references. They spoke candidly and passionately about their experiences with the team, confirming Bonfire is not just a check but a true partner. “Outside of my parents, Brett is my closest confidant and we speak nearly every day.” Another shared how Mark helped him get over imposter syndrome and become more accountable for his health, in turn making him a better executive. This is the kind of stuff this team cares about.
  3. Bonfire ‘walks the talk’ on DE&I. Diversity and inclusion was a topic in nearly every conversation I had with the team and was described as a foundational component of their value system and culture. Again, a lot of companies make the claim, but to my delight, I ended up signing my contract with Bonfire a week before giving birth to my first child. I was able to enjoy my maternity leave knowing that when I returned, I was starting a new role with a company that lived up to the values I have come to value in my career.

I’m in week three of my journey with Bonfire and it’s my first time sitting on the other side of the table. I arrive here excited to amplify and share the Bonfire difference to all prospective founders, and to better support our existing founders on their marketing journeys in the same manner I so appreciated when I was in their shoes in the earliest days. It’s time to fan the Bonfire flame!

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