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At Aruz Ventures, relationships are our most valuable asset. Founder Melissa Grillo Aruz specializes in talent placement, partnership development, and marketing strategy for companies of all sizes.



Having built our career in brand building, we understand more than most just how much a brand is defined by its people. We work tirelessly to find the most powerful candidates and partners to address brand challenges. We pride ourselves on collaborating with best in class talent and partners that are often overlooked. Our commitment is to continue growing our ability to place individuals & firms from underrepresented communities and put forth diverse candidates in every search & partner selection. Melissa’s extensive database of best-in-class vendors & executives has allowed her to place senior executives at The Farmer's Dog, Hims, The Yes, Rockets of Awesome, 11 Honore & many more.


We have built, refined, and evolved marketing for some of the most iconic consumer brands. From e-commerce to social media to physical retail, we understand how the perfect partner helps build a brand. Our network is enviable and has a proven history of solving brand challenges. Melissa was among the first to see the potential impact of creative partnerships, learning sessions & events and they are what define Aruz Ventures. Melissa serves as a strategic advisor & deal scout for numerous brands & VC firms, using her extensive experience as a marketing & talent leader to provide insights & guidance.


Increasingly VC firms are not solely defined by their roster of investments but by the support they are able to provide for their brands after the initial investment is made. We help VC firms advise their portfolio brands on successfully and responsibly scaling. Whether it is creating playbooks for the first 6 months or running executive coaching sessions, we've been through this journey many times. We know the pitfalls start ups face and can help your companies avoid them. We help you plot out the right course of action to ensure the success of your brands.


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“Melissa was instrumental in bringing our campaign vision to life. Her relationships are second to none and her ability to activate community with purpose is priceless for a brand. Additionally, since starting Ritual, I knew I could rely on Melissa as a sounding board for marketing strategy and building thoughtful creative teams. I’m lucky to have worked with her and consider her a mentor and friend.”

Katerina Schneider, Ritual Founder 



Founder Melissa Grillo Aruz has worked with agencies, brands, and venture capital firms, giving her a unique perspective on what it takes for companies to succeed.

Most recently, Melissa spent 6+ years at Forerunner Ventures as the Head of Talent & Business Development where she worked closely with portfolio companies such as Glossier, The Farmer’s Dog, Prose and Ritual.  During her time there she was responsible for supporting the portfolio of brands across marketing initiatives, partner relationships, talent, community building, events & overall networking.


Over the past 10+ years Melissa has worked independently with notable brands such as J.Crew, Warby Parker, Sealy, Bonobos, Moda Operandi & many more on their marketing initiatives including growth, brands & social efforts. A testament to her ability and collaborative nature, 100% of Melissa's consulting roles are through referrals.

Prior to VC, Melissa was a senior operator for 15 years and was the first Director of Growth & Marketing at Gilt Groupe during its explosive growth period. The first half of her career was spent on the agency side at Ogilvy & Razorfish creating best in class marketing campaigns for both retail and healthcare brand. For the last 2 years Melissa has supported early and later stage brands with marketing and recruiting, taking on the role once again as an operator. Her ability to pivot between financial institutions, brands and agencies lets her to see business from all perspectives, allowing a more holistic view on what it takes to be successful in today's environment.


As someone who had to work hard to create her own network, Melissa is dedicated to using her ecosystem to further the careers and opportunities of people who may not have access to this privilege.

Melissa has been featured on Marie Claire’s New Guard List and the Create & Cultivate 100. She is a founding member of The Board, an advisor for Rebecca Minkoff's The North and a Senior Advisor on Consumer for BDA Partners.


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