Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments

Sim Blaustein


Sim Blaustein is a partner with Bertelsmann's corporate venture fund, BDMI, where he is focused on seed and early stage investments in digital media and enterprise software. He led their investments in Food52 (sold to Chernin), StyleHaul (sold to RTL), Dramafever (sold to Softbank), HelloGiggles (sold to Time), Suzy, Omaze, Jukin Media, Nativo, Clique, and Frank & Oak, as well as a number of seed investments.

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Notable Investments

Fatherly, Suzy, Inverse, Dramafever, Food52, Barkbox

Questions & Answers

Origin Story: In a couple sentences, how would you describe your path to becoming an investor?

I have always loved the intersection of finance, markets and technology, and after spending the early part of my career at startups I joined the VC world.  Since then, I have found deep satisfaction in helping entrepreneurs build businesses and disrupt markets.

Investment Approach: What are the key factors you consider when evaluating a founding team?

We look for founder-market fit (whether a combination of experience and/or understanding the problem), as well as complementary skill sets across founders.

If I'm coming to pitch to you or your firm, what's the one piece of advice you'd give me?

While I enjoy a fast-paced and free-flowing 1:1 conversation (especially if you're working in a space we know), when pitching the broader team, we tend to prefer narrative pitches that follow a slide presentation.  Also demos! Love product demos! Zoom meetings have made this even more important, as I've found that having a visual aid helps keep attentions from wandering to other parts of the computer screen.

What's your style and approach when it comes to working with founders post-investment? What are the characteristics of founders you've worked well with?

I and my colleagues at BDMI often spend a lot of time helping with strategy, introductions and key business hires. The best part of my job is the opportunity to work with founders who are energetic, inquisitive and most of all passionate about what they do.

How would you describe your own personal mission and values, and how do they impact the way you invest?

I value long term relationships and products that make people happy, and enjoy investing in both.

What do you like best about investing in NYC, and what’s your outlook on the future of NYC tech?

As a NYC native, I moved to California in the late 90s to work in tech.  It has been amazing to see NYC begin to reach its potential as tech hub, enabling me to live in the greatest city in the world and pursue my passion.  While 2020 has been a tough year for The City, I am confident that we will continue attract creative, hard-working and ambitious people from around the world, just as we always have.  No other place in the world offers the energy, the diversity and the open-mindedness to new ideas and cultures that we do.