Gwyneth Paltrow

LOS ANGELES — “This year, you got engaged and raised $50 million. Is that all in 2018?” Sophia Amoruso asked Gwyneth Paltrow.

The actress shared the stage with Amoruso on Saturday during the Girlboss Rally, a product of the media company that Amoruso is building that is focused on producing content via channels such as the Rally podcast and web site.

Paltrow, for the most part, spoke about her experiences growing Goop, which started out as a place for content and is set to celebrate a decade in business later this year.

“It’s pretty crazy when I look back because it’s going to be 10 years in September,” Paltrow said. “I just had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea why I was doing it. I think everybody else felt the same way, too, like what the f—k are you doing this for? But I just had this very real, raw desire to share tips. I think it came from having been from my early adulthood traveling all over the world and getting terrible travel tips and getting sent to the wrong places.”

Paltrow’s initial idea for offering tips via a newsletter eventually evolved into a full-fledged media company and lifestyle brand with a content site, bricks-and-mortar stores (a good study in contextual commerce) and now merchandise. It’s a business she never thought in the beginning would grow to what it is now, she said.

“I definitely harbored a very secret dream that it would be a business one day but I had no idea how I would do it,” she said. “I think the first time a VC came up and introduced herself to me at a party…and she said, ‘Oh, you know, I really like what you’re doing and I’m a VC’ and I’m like, ‘What is that?’ It was kind of embarrassing but I’ve had to ask a lot of embarrassing questions.”

She’s also learned along the way, particularly as it relates to funding, talking with Amoruso about her experience walking into the room pitching to investors for the first time.

“It was scary. I have a very weird thing as an entertainer because I come to it as a famous lady,” she said. “So I would walk in and think I was prepared, especially in the early days, and have my [investor] deck and for the first 90 seconds of the meeting I was Gwyneth Paltrow and they would take a selfie for their wife. Then all of a sudden it was like I was dropped on the floor. I was drop-kicked into this other realm and just being grilled and [there were] really hard questions and it was like, ‘Oh, my god.’ It was an incredible lesson, especially when I think about that Series A and how hard it was to raise the money.”

The fact that she comes to the business a “famous lady,” as she put it, has raised questions by some curious to know to what extent Paltrow has a hand in the actual day-to-day activities of running Goop.

It was a question Amoruso posed to Paltrow, who responded with an anecdote. She mentioned one of her communications executives was recently asked by a reporter if there was a silent male in the background actually running the firm, which Paltrow laughed off onstage.

“My board made me ceo almost two years ago and so I’m responsible,” she said. “You know, the buck stops with me. I’m responsible for everything like, ‘Is the seam in the dress right to the P&L?’ — and everything in between.”

Under her direction, Paltrow and team in March pulled in $50 million for the company’s Series C in a round that included New Enterprise Associates, Felix Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners — the latter of which has also helped fund Amoruso’s Girlboss. Goop has raised $82 million to date.

“I think that because I sort of stumbled upon this great mistake, which was sending out content for six years without knowing what I was doing or why I was doing it… I built a lot of trust and my community of mostly women,” she said. “So all the growth was organic for a long time and then, of course, when you take VC money there are targets about your growth….Obviously, there are a million different ways to get an audience but my philosophy is it’s so important to grow with real people who are engaged with what you’re doing.”

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