Sisters Erin and Sara Foster invest in canned wine maker Bev
Erin Foster and her sister Sara, both actresses and writers, created and starred in the VH1 show Barely Famous. They expanded beyond the entertainment world through their partnerships with dating app Bumble and at-home fitness brand Mirror. Erin and Sara are also the daughters of Grammy-winning music legend David Foster.
In early 2020, they jointly announced their first investment in Bev, a canned wine brand founded by Alix Peabody. As an investor, Erin has put money in only female-founded startups. She recently spoke with Fortune about her and her sister’s choice to invest in Bev.
• Startup: Bev
• Year founded: 2017
• Valuation: Declined to disclose
• Investment level: Series A
• Number of employees: 25
• Location: Venice, Calif.
• Other major investors: Founders Fund, Chainsmokers, Sara Foster, Rich Paul, Simon Tikhman, Keith Sheldon, and Chief Zaruk
Why she invested, in her own words
Bev is the first company that my sister and I have ever written a check for. Prior to Bev, Sara and I were in the entertainment business. When we got involved with Bumble four years ago, that was the first tech company we were involved in and had equity in. We started to understand a different lane of business. Our partnership with Bumble, and then with Mirror, set that off. But we didn’t put money in either of those companies, we were given equity.
My husband, Simon [Tikhman], who has an investment background, he was the one who told us to start putting equity into companies, and Bev was the first company he brought us. Initially, I was looking at a different canned wine competitor that had approached me, and I thought it was a great idea. Simultaneously, my husband and sister said, “Why don’t we just secure competing investments and see which one does better?” But I panicked and decided to invest in Bev with them.
I’ve always been a wine drinker, walking around parties with a wineglass and feeling pretentious with my Sauv Blanc while everyone else is drinking out of plastic red cups. I loved the idea of canned wine because it takes your wine interest and makes it less mom-like. I have no shame in turning on The Bachelorette with some canned wine, and I don’t worry about opening a bottle by myself and drinking too much. Canned wine makes the category more accessible, fun, and young; I think that’s a move in the right direction. My tried and true is Bev’s Sauvignon Blanc, though my second favorite is their rosé. My husband’s favorite is the Pinot Grigio.
We are living in a really different time when there is a huge connection between brands and consumers, and you can actually be a part of the success and invest in things that feel right to you. Simon taught me you aren’t investing in the product; you are investing in the founder. It is like a romantic relationship or a friendship. That’s the person that will be in every room trying to sell the product and get distribution. That’s who you are putting money into. You look at all the components that are data driven, but there is also a feeling. Find someone with good instincts who you trust. Alix is very clear about what Bev is and what she wants to accomplish. She believes in her brand, and it was easy to believe in her as a founder.
So far, my sister and I have only invested in female-founded companies. Bumble and Mirror, where we got our start, were also both women led. It isn’t a rule we live by, but a cool opportunity to support women. And in alcohol, it is a very male-driven space, and getting greater distribution can be challenging as a woman. The investment in Bev kicked off my sister and I bleeding money every time we saw a company we were fascinated by. I’ve had to put a halt on my personal investments recently because I’m trying to buy a house. It is a long-term payout on these investments. My sister and I are in the process of raising a consumer-focused fund, and we are about halfway to our goal. Hopefully, we can invest with other people’s money instead of our own. But I don’t recommend putting any amount of money into a startup that would change your life. I’m not ever willing to write a check that if the money disappeared tomorrow, it would change my life. Because if it makes me stressed about paying my mortgage, that’s not a check I’m willing to write. Nothing is guaranteed.
This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.