Melissa Li

Managing Partner and Head of Community
Dorm Room Fund

Melissa Li is a Gen Z tech investor and startup mentor, passionate about the intersection of commerce, community and clever marketing.

Melissa is Head of Community and Managing Partner at Dorm Room Fund, the student founder venture fund that launched out of seed-stage titan First Round Capital. There, Melissa has helped portfolio companies leverage Dorm Room Fund’s Gen Z audience strategically for growth and brand insights. She also workshops organic community-building and digital audience growth closely with founders. To date, Dorm Room Fund companies have raised $2.5B in follow-on capital and created $8.3B+ in value.

Outside of Dorm Room Fund, Melissa focuses on early-stage investments across web3 and the creator economy — both of which push the frontier of commerce strategies. She also serves as an active mentor to a number of competitive startup accelerators in the USA, helping demystify social selling, community flywheels, and creative digital marketing for entrepreneurs.

Melissa Li’s Session

Achieving Gen Z Icon Status: How Retail Brands Can Win at Social Media

Consider the acceleration of the social media landscape of the last decade — Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Discord, TikTok, BeReal — and it's safe to say Gen Z grew up navigating the internet and digital communities. They can spot authenticity (or the opposite) online from a mile away. And to no surprise, it's getting harder for retail brands to attract and retain Gen Z consumers on social media as a sales and growth channel. Add the post-COVID shift to digital into the mix for retail brands... We're overdue for creative social media strategies that stick!

In this session, Melissa Li will dig into how next-gen retail brands can leverage social media for icon status and brand longevity among Gen Z — our soon-to-be most potent consumers.

For all the CPG entrepreneurs, brand enthusiasts, and social media managers, this is the place to learn tactically about:

  • The growth of community commerce (social commerce 2.0) powering Gen Z fan favorites
  • Using social media as a powerful engine for product co-creation, social listening, and direct distribution — especially on college campuses
  • The art of engineering viral moments and community flywheels hinges upon novel digital content — and making the social media buzz stick around until they sell


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