Get to know
Debut Capital
Our Value Add
Since we get involved early, it is critical that we help founders in the initial stages of their business.
Based on the startups we've seen and been involved with, we’ve observed consistent patterns in the earliest phases. These are some of the areas we love to collaborate on.
  • Product Strategy & Roadmap
  • Tech Stack Strategy
  • Team Structure
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Product
We’ve launched over 100 digital products over the last 12+ years, ranging from start-ups like Rent The Runway, ModCloth, and 23andMe to enterprise companies like Sephora, Gap, and American Express. We’ll focus on leveraging our experience in this area to help our portfolio grow.
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Finance & Operations
Our experience building financial systems for start-ups in the past has scaled up to $30M in revenue. Our goal is to help our portfolio create thoughtful and realistic narratives around their projections. Shaping this blueprint gives founders the best chance to reach their goals and demonstrate a track record for investors.
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Fundraising Feedback & Intros
We're constantly building new relationships with different investors and funds. Our goal is to build trust in our co-investor network with thoughtful intros that fit their area of focus.
Our Values
Good Vibes
We want to build a community of people helping people.
Partnership
Our job is to always provide value, not just capital, to founders.
Honesty
Always do the right thing. No matter what.
Value
We work *with* the founders to help them achieve their dreams.
Our Founders
Pilar Johnson
Pilar Johnson
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Pilar Johnson is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Debut Capital. Prior to Debut Capital, Pilar led operations at Prolific Interactive including the Diversity & Inclusion implementation and strategy for the company. Beyond D&I, Pilar has also led efforts in M&A, Finance, and People Operations. Pilar is passionate about creating equitable safe spaces for the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous community and continues to work with startups on ways to make an authentic impact in their workplace.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Bobak Emamian
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Bobak Emamian grew up in Iran before moving the US when he was in elementary school. In 2009, Bobak co-founded a strategy-led mobile agency, Prolific. Through 10 years, they worked on and launched over 100 products spanning iOS, Android, and Web, before the agency was acquired in 2019. While managing Prolific, Bobak discovered a passion to invest in a more equitable future, leading him to collaborate with Pilar on D&I initiatives, and eventually co-found Debut Capital.
Brenda Freeman
Venture Partner
Over a 25 year career, Brenda Freeman has driven results by staying at the forefront of shifting consumer trends and emerging technologies. A digital transformation leader, she lives at the intersection of technology, brands and culture. She founded Joyeux Advisory Group in 2019, advising early-stage and late-stage start-ups. May 2021, she joined Debut Capital as a Venture Partner, focusing on investing in Black, Latinx, and Indigenous businesses. She was previously Chief Executive Officer to Arteza, a Miami based leading edge e-commerce arts and crafts company. Prior, she served as CMO for Magic Leap, National Geographic Channels, DreamWorks TV and Cartoon Network. Brenda sits on several public and private boards as well as community service supporting the arts in Miami.
Kesha Cash
Kesha Cash
Advisor
Kesha is the Founder & General Partner at Impactive America Fund. She is passionate about helping the next generation of founders navigate the challenges that inevitably arise when building a business—even when the idea is great, the model is strong, or funding is abundant. She was recently named one of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" and is the subject of a Stanford Graduate School of Business case study on forming a successful impact venture capital firm. She has nearly a decade of experience in impact investing; at Jalia Ventures, a $5 million fund that she co-founded with Josh Mailman, she made seed investments in mission-driven companies including Red Rabbit, Schoolzilla, and ConnXus. She received her M.B.A. from Columbia University and her B.A. in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley.
Shanté Patridge
Shanté Patridge
Associate
As an Associate, Shanté works on all things portfolio. She brings with her prior early-stage venture capital experience and extensive experience supporting founders in startup ecosystems on campus and throughout Texas. Shanté is passionate about empowering historically-excluded & under-resourced founders, and increasing diversity in venture capital. Shanté graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2019 where she received a BBA in Management with a Consulting & Change Management specialization from the McCombs School of Business, and a minor in African & African Diaspora studies from the College of Liberal Arts.
Michelle Almeida
Michelle Almeida
Fellow
Michelle is a current MBA candidate at The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where she is majoring in marketing and strategic management. She plans to apply her background in branded content and advertising to future roles in business development, strategic partnerships, and investor relations across leisure industries such as media, entertainment, arts & culture, beauty, and style. She is a proud first-gen CaboVerdean woman and a proud graduate of Williams College.
Interested in Debut Capital?
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