Building 4Degrees

Why we’re leaving VC

Last Updated:
July 20, 2016

You and David are leaving VC? The best job on Earth? Why the hell would you do that?

TLDR: We’re leaving Pritzker Group VC — a fantastic team and firm, to build our own company, 4Degrees. Why? Keep reading.

Almost all of the opportunities that have shaped our paths have come through relationships.

I didn’t know what consulting was until Charles Cole took me under his wing and taught me about case interviews and the importance of mental math. I would have never found out about MEST or the African Leadership Academy (two phenomenal organizations) if Ron Lewis hadn’t introduced me to them. David got his first college internship at a world-class Fortune 20 program through the introduction of his (now-)father-in-law. The statistics validate our personal anecdotes: the number one way people find new jobs is through their relationships.

Of course, the power of relationships isn’t limited to the individual; it’s fundamental to the success of companies as well. At PGVC, the firm’s relationships were the asset underlying all of its success. Everything from the companies we invested in – to how we added value post-investment and ultimately found a good outcome was rooted in the strength of the Pritzker Group network.

As entrepreneurs, relationships will dictate whether we’ll be able to raise a financing round. Relationships will determine whether we can make a trajectory-changing hire or eventually find a partner to fuel our growth further through an acquisition. Within other industries, relationships are the main sources of deals made, new hires, partnerships, services, and every other facet of professional success. However, despite the mission-critical nature of these activities, there are no products designed to help individuals or teams proactively prioritize, develop, and activate these all-important professional relationships.

This is more than a workflow problem. Relationship building is too important to think of as “just a process”. This is demonstrated every day through the heartbreaking stories of talented, capable people who are left behind because they don’t know “the right people”.

David and I saw this firsthand during our time as VCs, where entrepreneurs without the right connectivity lacked the coveted “warm introduction”. They were operating at a knowledge disadvantage. And this goes far beyond entrepreneurship. I’ve watched acquaintances with no prior experience stumble into career-changing jobs through a connection to a family friend while my close friends — with industry-relevant degrees and experience — have been passed over.

That’s why we’ve decided to leave one of the best jobs on earth: to attack a large market opportunity, but more importantly to build something we deeply believe should exist. We’ll have more to share on how we plan to do this soon — but we couldn’t be more excited to be on this journey.

Originally published on Jul 13, 2017

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