Garnet Heraman – Partner of Anvil Venture Partners

Surround yourself with young, hungry talent & empower them (with strong business process, clearly defined goals, financial & nonfinancial incentives etc) to take control of their own fate, even if it means failing at times.

Garnet S. Heraman is a seasoned entrepreneur, investor and startup advisor with 20+ years experience in venture creation, business strategy, brand development and fundraising. His gift is transforming founder vision into investor value. His resource nexus spans NYC, Denver, Silicon Valley, SoCal, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Mr. Heraman is co-owner of, an e-commerce company that sells American-made lifestyle apparel. He architected the company’s body-positive brand and its social media platform. Celebrated in media ranging from Good Morning America to to Travel+Leisure Magazine, Karina Dresses was also a finalist for the 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Award.

Mr. Heraman is an advisor to:
Gozo Restaurant
ClearGrid Energy
The Fourth Corner Credit Union
Biba Ventures

He also co-founded Aegis Investment Partners LLC, a mezzanine fund. Earlier, Mr. Heraman founded & exited two Web 1.0 ventures: VentureVortex, a startup services platform acquired by Aegis; UVentures, the first vertical exchange for university tech transfer, acquired by UTEK.

Mr. Heraman has been widely quoted in media such as The Wall Street Journal Online, Institutional Investor, Business Week Online, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Red Herring and Crain’s New York.

Mr. Heraman is/has been involved with several non-profit organizations, including TiE New York, where he was a founding board member from 1999-2001; The CORO Foundation, which chose him for their prestigious Leadership New York Program (2000-1) and; The Columbia University Alumni Association.

Mr.Heraman is deeply interested in meditation practices, fitness, food & wine, travel, art, industrial & graphic design, sacred music traditions, architecture, and zombies. Despite his fascination with the slow-moving & mindless, he doesn’t much care for politics & politicians. Go figure.

Where did the idea for Anvil Venture Partners come from?

My investment partners – Rob Sanchez, Charles Wolofsky, Matt Toner- and I initially were discussing the concept of a merchant bank focused on investing in/owning a diverse portfolio of equity in a series of technology startups. We were spit-balling ideas about novel structures and the merchant bank concept appealed to me because on some level we all wanted to have an active operational role, not just a passive investment role. We have since moved beyond that idea, but that was the starting point for how we arrived at the hybrid accelerator and investment model we are pursuing now at Anvil Venture Partners

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

No day is typical but here are the key elements that work for me::

  • 30-60 minute Vipassana meditation as soon as I wake up
  • emails and texts in the early-mid morning
  • brief “moving meditation” while on a subway from Brooklyn to our midtown Manhattan office
  • face to face meetings at our office starting late morning, early afternoon
  • calls, texts to check in with my investment partners over the course of the day
  • lunch on the fly, typically as part of a working meeting
  • 11a and 5p check-in calls/texts with operations manager at my apparel company, Karina Dresses
  • Home by early evening & 2-3 hours of “no-work” time
  • A few emails/texts before bed to set up my agenda for next day

How do you bring ideas to life?

I try to germinate ideas alone via focused ideation, web research and personal calls/interviews with relevant information sources. I find having some substance around an idea to brainstorm with is important to leverage the time/resources of your team.

Once I have that initial substance, then the critical test of bringing any idea to life is to share with my investment partners at AVP. I am constantly amazed at how far and fast you can run with the process of turning ideas into action when you have the right team.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The Airbnb-enabled short term rental ecosystem- we see many related business opportunities + potential for disrupting aspects of the travel+leisure industry.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My meditation practice – no doubt about it.

The clarity of thought enables the creativity and open-mindedness needed for transforming business challenges into opportunities. That same clarity allows me to make good on the AVP mission statement: Forging Vision Into Value

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

My first job was my worst job- I worked at a delicatessen at age 14.

What I learned was how to hunker down, grin and bear it, and get through difficult periods with difficult personalities. Also, I learned how to appreciate Jewish-American cuisines like my beloved pastrami and brisket sandwiches.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

That’s easy: Skip business school & go straight into startups and investing in startups.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

That’s also easy- in any major business related decision I start from my desired outcomes (either personal or professional) and then work backwards to the decision at hand. Essentially I reverse engineer my ideal scenario.

My system is very similar to the concept of “manifesting” in the world of meditation practice.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how

Surround yourself with young, hungry talent & empower them (with strong business process, clearly defined goals, financial & nonfinancial incentives etc) to take control of their own fate, even if it means failing at times.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In my late 20’s when I started out as an entrepreneur, I felt I had to control everything and everyone. I won’t lie and say that trait completely erased. But I’m much better at collaboration (deferring, delegating, taking a subordinate position, etc). And even better at acceptance. Those two improvements have made all the difference in this latest chapter of my business life.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Figure out how to create technology-enabled reward systems that speak to customer loyalty among the emerging majority of millennials in the North American workforce.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I renewed my gym membership. Health is wealth.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

The usual suspects: Email & text. WhatsApp for team messaging

I don’t love anything about technology, to be honest

What I love is clear, concise, well-thought out communications enabled by technology

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Where the Wild Things Are.

Because it’s important to maintain a sense of childlike awe at what’s possible- good and bad- when you harness the power of imagination. That and it’s important to stay close to your “family,” however you define that word.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

All very personal- none of them have blogs, websites etc And very few of them have been business writers/advisors

Eg, I re-read Paulo Coelho’s ‘Manual of The Warrior of the Light’ every year.
Here are a few others:
Hakuin Ekaku
Kazuo Ishiguro
Micklethwaite & Wooldridge (The Fourth Revolution)
Walter Iasaacson
Maurice Sendak
Munro Leaf


Garnet S. Heraman on LinkedIn:
Garnet S. Heraman on Twitter: @garnetheraman