The Recession-Proof Portfolio: Investing in Vice Companies

Published on
October 15th, 2020
47 minutes

IPO Alternatives: SPACs, Direct Listings & Private Market Investments

The Recession-Proof Portfolio: Investing in Vice Companies

The Interview ·
Featuring Catharine Dockery

Published on: October 15th, 2020 • Duration: 47 minutes

No matter how the economy is doing, people around the world continue to drink, smoke, gamble, and have sex. So, why not invest in vice industries? Catharine Dockery, founding partner of Vice Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund, invests exclusively in non-traditional companies that are typically avoided by investors and even prohibited due to vice clauses. She shares her investment philosophy, makes the case for harm reduction investing, and opens up about her journey as a woman in finance from Wall Street to VC. Filmed on October 7, 2020.



  • AS
    Arjan S.
    19 October 2020 @ 21:18
    Good interview. Some of my best investments have been vice stocks. But wait... nicotine from tomatoes. Tomacco? Wasn’t that literally a Simpson’s episode?
    • SA
      Sebastian A.
      4 November 2020 @ 04:17
      Simpsons did it.
  • RS
    Robin S.
    25 October 2020 @ 01:55
    Terrific interview and Catherine was great. I’m off to learn more about Vice Ventures. Brilliant name!! I think you could also play a great game guessing the age of the commenters down below. I’d fancy my chances of doing pretty well ;)
  • CB
    Clifford B.
    15 October 2020 @ 11:44
    Great discussion overall with one pet peeve. Use of the word "Like" every 5th word is extremely annoying.
    • VD
      Vishal D.
      15 October 2020 @ 12:53
      yes very hard to listen to
    • AR
      Anthony R.
      24 October 2020 @ 02:35
      Agree - and, of course, that make us sexist, this-ist, that-ist, blah, blah, blah....
  • JR
    Jason R.
    15 October 2020 @ 17:10
    So... the thesis is to profit off of the increasing moral corruption and degradation of society around us and the associated behaviours that people can fall into under increasing stress and uncertainty? Hmmm...sounds really sustainable. No wonder there's already $25M in the fund...
    • AB
      Alastair B.
      15 October 2020 @ 17:26
      Why no consumer firearms companies? I’m up almost 200% on SWBI this year.
    • JM
      John M.
      15 October 2020 @ 21:23
      SWBI, up 200% - good catch man.
    • AR
      Anthony R.
      24 October 2020 @ 02:30
      Jason - its totally sustainable. The cost of the wreckage will simply be subsidized by MMT as it has been in other forms for the last 60 years. And YOU get to make $$ if (until it breaks).
  • AA
    Aymman A.
    15 October 2020 @ 19:40
    Excellent interview! People who don’t like this interview are probably the same people who hate BTC. Sorry. That was a snarky remark. But you can’t reject something just because it is not in your comfort zone. I do not know if she is a good fund manager or not but my first thought is “this is a little out-there but really interesting and Catharine sounds really competent”
    • AR
      Anthony R.
      24 October 2020 @ 02:27
      The key with listening to Catherine is the key to listening to other people who have quirks in their methods of communicating, is to focus on the content not the packaging..... We do it all day folks. When the opportunity to learn something, get something done or make money is on the line - we do it.
  • MS
    Mel S.
    16 October 2020 @ 19:06
    Smart woman with a great perspective. I was sickened by that story. It's so typical and it's been typical as long as I've been alive which is much longer than Catharine. Being a female business owner, I'm no stranger on what it takes in a man's world to get business done. That's not the way it always is, but I can't tell you how many men have have said things to me who would NEVER say it to another guy. Also critiquing words she uses? Again, not something men to do men.
    • AR
      Anthony R.
      24 October 2020 @ 02:18
      Mel - I work with a wide array of people within my company all day long - and bust people of any gender about over us of idioms 'like, kinda, sorta', etc. These terms diminish the other worthwhile content people have to convey - make them sound equivocating, etc. I also see both men and women engaging in what they call 'up-speak' - irritating as hell to listen to - again - equivocating. I want these people to be successful. To be taken seriously. So - no - as a man, I bust other young men for this. You're wrong.
  • SS
    Shanthi S.
    16 October 2020 @ 06:34
    Haley handled this with great poise. Interesting interview, but it got a rare dislike from me, not because of the “like” every three seconds, but specifically because of the “diversity” talk. For how many more years do we have to endure the patronising and deeply cringe-worthy disquisition on the skin colour, gender and pertinent victim complex of every board member, CEO or member of parliament that comes up in conversation?? It’s vile. Like literally sickening.
    • DG
      David G.
      16 October 2020 @ 09:47
      I disagree with victimhood mentality, because I believe it gets victims nowhere. However, anyone who believes that Black people as a group in the USA aren't victims of a white supremacy lead US government, of the most of the 20th century and prior, is either extremely miseducated and a victim of a white supremacy dictated history curriculum, a white supremacist themselves, or someone with deep seeded anti-black sentiment and black resentment, who is in denial about history and its impact on present day descendants of enslaved Africans in America. Where would Jewish decedents be today if Hitler was around in the 1400s and started a movement that kidnapped them, and for over 300 centuries striped them of their culture, language, religion, forced their integration with other ethnic groups from their home continent, as if they were all one people, forced them to rape for increased human yield, and turn on each other for survival, denied them the ability to read, to understand the world they are captives in, subjected them to deities that resemble their kidnappers and abusers, freed them 300 years after their initial enslavement with little to no knowledge of where they come from, and forced to play educational catch up with, while continuing to be attacked and sabotaged. Anyone who thinks that modern Jews would have found a way to run a high percentage of US financial industries, entertainment industries, etc. 50 years after being given full citizenship in 1964( ironically 20 years after playing hero to the Jew), with black people's history and experience in this country, just in time for Vietnam, extreme inflation, the start of a government backed narcotics distribution in America, and wage suppression due to globalization(basically the 50 years of exponential complaining from white about how America isn't working for them like it used to) is a complete moron, and that is truly Vile and sickening. I agree that its hard to fix broken adults, but you will never convince me, that if the USA were to water poor Black kids in some of the worst areas with a true history, and economic lessons, and financial secrets, within one or two generations, the only race issues you would have in America as it pertains to Black and White people would be White people complaining that they don't have the same advantages over Black people like they used to. This country spent figured out how to put "Whitey on the moon" for the hell of it, yet a proper financial education and understanding never seems to find its way into the public schools of those who need it the most. Do you really believe a county that can put someone on the moon is that neglectful or incompetent? It is intentional, because undoing the disadvantage makes for angry white voters, who are accustom to their advantages in America, and its bad for consumerism. Most good hearted people here mention it, because they desire in their heart to help make positive difference but don't really know how. Others use their new "wokeness" to put themselves above others who haven't yet undone their miseducation. However, maybe if you choose more worthy causes to be upset about, you wouldn't have to engage in hyperbole.
    • SC
      Stefan C.
      16 October 2020 @ 10:34
      OMG... who needed this manifesto?
    • AB
      Alastair B.
      16 October 2020 @ 13:40
      America put humans on the moon, not ‘whiteys’.
    • DG
      David G.
      17 October 2020 @ 01:41
      It is interesting that several people show up, and dislike a long but factual account of history in America, without given a reason for disliking it or refuting one fact. The one specific pushback was about a factual title to a poem that was clearly placed in quotes called "Whitey On The moon." We will never all simply see ourselves as just humans, when one group of humans constantly forces you to hear about their ancestors dissatisfaction with their King and subsequent betrayal of him, and celebration of independence, 100 years before your ancestors became "freeish" from from those same people, and told both subtilty and directly to shut up about your own experience, and that of your ancestors, that they would rather not have mentioned. Too many individuals only offer peace, oneness, and friendship on their terms because they happen to be members of a economically dominant group whose appearance they are supposedly blind to. I too am a beneficiary of the evil side of capitalism that America leads the world in. I too eat well, while others around the globe suffer the effects of the losing side of Western capitalism. I probably would shut up and be grateful and that I am not worse off somewhere on the globe if people who look like me everywhere around the globe weren't consistently targeted and slandered, by groups in power who originate outside the continent of Africa. Ok I'm done. I love me some Europeans, back to trying to master the money game.
    • WG
      Wade G.
      20 October 2020 @ 11:26
      David G., tough topic and your style is off-putting. You think people came here to read a lengthy screed, off-topic, and enjoy working through the multiple clauses with no paragraph breaks? Because your ideas are so evidently sound and important, others will delight in laboring to digest them? I mean, why did you bother with sentences? I'm personally just sick of the stunningly arrogant and self-serving assertion common today, and very close to present in your screed in your sentence #2 with all of its clauses, that anyone, can presume to tell everyone, that they're anything. It's so absurd, I can't believe anyone would utter such nonsense, let alone that others seem to celebrate it, or in your case, riff on a variation of it. The broader topic is too important and nuanced to address well in this forum. That's it. That 's all that needs to be said here.
  • MT
    Mike T.
    16 October 2020 @ 11:03
    If I've misinterpreted the basic message here, I sincerly apologise. It would seem to me Catharine's invesment philosophy has a heavy focus on non-liquid instruments. If my assestment is correct this is a huge red flag. Liquidity, liquidity and liquidity should be the first, second and third in the selection process. Of course filtering first through liquidity does mean losing early bird opportunities but over time - sorry to write in clichés - in the long haul it's not about the winning, that's almost the easy bit, but it's about not losing big and investing or trading in non liquid instruments will, statistically, lead to frequent painful experiences. There are always exceptions to the rule, but on the balance of probablity, illiquid stocks and funds are very high risk. One thing where there was no shortage of liquidity, the word 'like' featured 129 times.
    • SC
      Sam C.
      16 October 2020 @ 12:22
      I went to the transcript to check on that 129 and it's true. 😂😂
    • CD
      Catharine D.
      16 October 2020 @ 16:29
      Why do you feel there is no liquidity in vice markets?
    • MT
      Mike T.
      16 October 2020 @ 19:05
      Let me be clear on what optimal liquidity means for me. The following criteria is broad brush only. Firstly with a stock or fund itself I'm looking for at least 4 - 5 million shares per day. Then to ensure institutional interest nothing under $20. Now the important bit any stock must have the highly liquid Options. If no Options at all or the Options are illiquid I walk away. To be deemed liquid the Options must have spreads no wider than 10 cents. Counting from front month all strikes in at least three monthly cycles must have every strike well bid. At least three strikes must have open interest greater than 1000 contracts and daily volume for at least one strike in a monthly cycle in the thousands. If you can point me to Vice Stocks that meet the aforementioned liquidity criteria please accept my apologies for expressing doubt.
    • Bd
      Bram d.
      19 October 2020 @ 00:41
      A venture fund focuses on non-liquid investments by definition.
  • RB
    Roy B.
    18 October 2020 @ 22:56
    Haley does a terrific interview. She does her homework and keeps the interview going w no awkward lags. Having her do just the RVDB news intro is a waste of talent.
  • CL
    Christopher L.
    18 October 2020 @ 05:54
    like OMG, like totally, right, like ok, right like literally (or virtually?)
  • CL
    Christopher L.
    18 October 2020 @ 05:42
    smoke shows
  • JH
    Jesse H.
    15 October 2020 @ 15:09
    I understand the interest here, but I don’t admire it - personal opinion and my own belief system / moral compass. To me, investing in cannabis vs. investing in “sexual wellness” (read: porn and pornography-like ventures) are two very different moral avenues: one is medically interesting and shows promise for a host of real and difficult health conditions. The other is harmful to adults and children alike. If you don’t believe me, just see if you have a twinge of conscience as a man (or woman) explaining a porn habit to your 7 year-old. Now do the same with moderate cannabis. BIG difference. Less content like this please. Thanks.
    • GD
      Graham D.
      15 October 2020 @ 22:14
      Why would anyone need to, or want to, explain a porn habit to a 7 year old?
    • AI
      Andras I.
      15 October 2020 @ 23:28
      Or cannabis - for that matter.
    • tc
      thomas c.
      16 October 2020 @ 00:29
      Agree with your points but no problem with free speech. We are all adults on this platform i think. As for the comment why would you ever have to explain porn to a 7yr old . have you ever caught one watching it?
    • mp
      matthew p.
      16 October 2020 @ 09:33
      Karenesque comment
    • AC
      Alexi C.
      17 October 2020 @ 13:07
      7 year olds are very inquisitive. If one saw you using cannabis and didn’t know what it was they would ask what’s that. Y 7 year old would do that and my 3 year old does too.
  • JC
    John C.
    17 October 2020 @ 02:50
    Catharine, Very interesting indeed. I'm sure you will be inundated with inquiry as the reach of RealVision has expanded considerably of late. Best wished for you fund in terms of sizing and results. Caleb
  • sc
    sung c.
    16 October 2020 @ 23:52
    To me it's a no brainer. Why invest in vice when you can invest in BTC, better upside with no guilt.
  • MS
    Mel S.
    16 October 2020 @ 19:00
    What a story. Yes, you are so right, they would have never done that to a man it's so unfortunate.
  • YS
    Young S.
    16 October 2020 @ 17:19
    I like the amount of liquor in the background. Very 'vice'. Is this part of the concept? ;)
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    16 October 2020 @ 14:48
    Interesting and relevant topic, albeit not the most comfortable to talk about Let's be honest, a segment of the population partakes on a regular basis via "black market" supply for cannabis and beyond. Then, you've got governments at all levels across the world facing sky-high deficits, so they'll setup a regulatory framework around it and to create jobs and tax revenues...that's the way forward (in my humble opinion)... Would have liked to hear some more thoughts on cannabis vs. alcohol, can they co-exist? Market share trends? Etc...
  • LK
    L K.
    15 October 2020 @ 17:07
    It's been a while since I read "The Fourth Turning", but didn't Strauss and Howe argue that society's acceptance of drug use is a cyclical phenomenon? I'll have to check which part of the saeculum it is supposed to peak.
    • SS
      Shanthi S.
      16 October 2020 @ 06:42
      Let’s hope we’re approaching that time again. I can think of a lot of people who would benefit from 5 grams of psilocybin and a few hours in a darkened room.
  • PP
    Patrick P.
    16 October 2020 @ 02:41
    Like totally Rad....
  • HB
    Herman B.
    15 October 2020 @ 23:00
    Thank you for such out of box conversation. Very eye opening, at least to me.
  • JJ
    Jordan J.
    15 October 2020 @ 21:55
    This was awesome. Love to hear people speaking from an honest place.
  • AB
    Alastair B.
    15 October 2020 @ 16:41
    Did she say ‘Ketamine’ during her elevator pitch at the beginning of the interview?
    • JD
      John D.
      15 October 2020 @ 17:05
      Yes. Yes she did.
    • AB
      Alastair B.
      15 October 2020 @ 17:14
      Hard pass. I’ll stick with the ‘new ice age’ guy this week I think. Raiding the vet’s cabinet for horse tranquillisers is not the way to prosperity.
    • AA
      Aymman A.
      15 October 2020 @ 19:34
      FYI low dose Ketamine inFusions are being used as a treatment for major depression. I think the FDA has approved or is about to approve an intranasal version. I am a physician (anesthesiologist ) and Ketamine is the go-to drug for many sick patients who would not tolerate a standard dose of Propofol. So Ketamine is not just a “horse tranquilizer”. It has many safe and effective human uses.
    • AB
      Alastair B.
      15 October 2020 @ 19:36
      Thanks for the info. I have only ever heard of it being used as a recreational drug.
    • ND
      Noel D.
      15 October 2020 @ 20:01
      Warfarin. Right dose = blood thinning medication. Also it's rat poison. Ketamine? Bad stuff. Right dose, right situation - might have psychiatric benefits. Lysergic acid diethylamide? Psilocybin? Perhaps a whole lot of things we would want to avoid might significantly increase prosperity if we can help those with addictions, compulsive behaviors, PTSD, etc.
    • PB
      PHILLIP B.
      15 October 2020 @ 21:18
      The ketamine would be supplied to police departments. Of course, to hospitals and health care providers, but police departments would be the growth market.
  • JD
    John D.
    15 October 2020 @ 17:03
    That is quite the alcohol shelf she has there.
    • PB
      PHILLIP B.
      15 October 2020 @ 21:15
      Research material, perhaps, was my thought.
  • SC
    Scott C.
    15 October 2020 @ 20:59
    I want to hear Mike from the SPAC’s side of the story.
  • FC
    Frank C.
    15 October 2020 @ 19:14
    Very inspiring!
  • MJ
    Matthew J.
    15 October 2020 @ 13:01
    You lost me at the 50th “like”
    • YZ
      Young Z.
      15 October 2020 @ 17:24
      Clueless like meets Wall Street.
  • RM
    Richard M.
    15 October 2020 @ 15:30
    Fantastic interview! Catharine is straight-up whip-smart! Please make this video available on your public YouTube channel as I want both of my nieces to see this (they are also whip-smart millennials and I know would enjoy seeing this and take it for the inspirational value that it has). Great job Haley!
  • TM
    Tyler M.
    15 October 2020 @ 15:13
    So different and SO GOOD. Two amazing women. Unique viewpoints and for being only 28, quite an incredible track record.
  • PH
    Paul H.
    15 October 2020 @ 14:38
    Who doesn't like vice? Best of luck to Catharine and her Vice Venture companies...
  • sc
    steve c.
    15 October 2020 @ 13:48
    Really thought-provoking, great interview; I can only presume the thumbs downs are coming from the closed-minded, traditional investors who don't enjoy thinking outside the box!
  • JL
    Jason L.
    15 October 2020 @ 12:41
    Smart topic to cover. It’s great to see Haley on camera in this format. Looking forward to more from her.
  • SH
    Sin H.
    15 October 2020 @ 11:25
    To Real Vision --> In season 7 of the Startup podcast, they featured a one African American woman VC --> Arlan Hamilton. I thought that was a very compelling story. Season 7 here -->
  • GB
    15 October 2020 @ 11:20
    RV brings stories you won’t hear anywhere else. Super interesting content.
  • SC
    Sam C.
    15 October 2020 @ 07:46
    Solid Bar btw!
  • SC
    Sam C.
    15 October 2020 @ 07:44