Ian Hall

I have a passion for the emotional, consumer-brand connection. Also finding the best taco in the area.

Ian believes that the story brands tell makes a product come to life. Helping founders express and ignite the brand, beyond the functional attributes of a product, is what gets him up in the morning.

Donut Worry, Be Happy

When I wasn't trying to convince my parents to take me out for donuts, I spent a lot of time outdoors --playing sports or enjoying nature. I still love nature. And a good donut.

Summer Job

I spent a summer working for Pressed Juicery during college. I saw first hand how decisions made in the office would directly impact the consumer’s brand experience. I became hooked on discovering what makes brands tick. I started in consumer M&A investment banking which luckily led me to VMG.

I love working with entrepreneurs and seeing how founder’s ideas come to life and grow.

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Full Interview:

Let’s start at the beginning. What kind of kid were you?

When I wasn't trying to convince my parents to take me out for donuts, I spent a lot of time outdoors --playing sports or enjoying nature. I still love nature. And a good donut.

Is there anything distinct about where you grew up that defines who you are today?

Santa Barbara is known as a playground for the rich. But I was in the public school system and saw the true diversity of the community. That helped shape my perspective about privilege and what it means to connect with people from different backgrounds and beliefs. Santa Barbara was also the birthplace of my lifelong mission to find the best tacos wherever I go.

A Holy Grail quest, for sure. What books are on your nightstand?

Barbarian Days (favorite book), Shoe Dog and White Fragility

You in a nutshell: California roots (check), consumer brand work (check), interest in diversity (check).

Wow. I’m that transparent?

How did you find yourself in the world of branding?

I spent a summer working for Pressed Juicery during college. I saw first hand how decisions made in the office would directly impact the consumer’s brand experience. (Plus the perks of unlimited pressed juice and the first tastes of new R&D weren’t shabby). I became hooked on discovering what makes brands tick. I started in consumer M&A investment banking which luckily led me to VMG.

What about the VMG culture attracted you in the first place?

I think it was their reputation for helping build the broader consumer ecosystem. They’re uniquely supportive of brands beyond those they’re actually invested in. Plus they are dedicated to being a true partner to the brands they work with. That passion and those values were important to me.

What do you love most about the work you do now?

Brands tell a story which makes a product come to life. That persona then interacts with consumers in a way that goes farther and deeper than the functional attributes of a product. The emotional connection brands can create with different people around the world is what attracts me most. I also love working with entrepreneurs and seeing how founder’s ideas come to life and grow.

Ok, so what do you bring to VMG?

Well, I’m pretty scrappy. That aligns well with the challenges that we and our portfolio companies / entrepreneurs face on a day-to-day basis.

Plus you know all the good taco places.

There is that.

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