Empowering Innovation

I’ll never forget when early into my career as an entrepreneur Howard Lindzon sent me my first investment deck to review. Up to that point, I’d had the privilege of watching my father invest from the sidelines through his career at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and then starting his own firm. I am grateful to have been in a position where I had the capital to invest at that age, and I called him to let him know that I’d like to participate in the round. He told me that he would jump on a call with me, and we could make a decision after. Following the call, both my father and I were so excited about the company that we both invested. A decade later, I’m working alongside him full-time to invest in this generation of disrupters and innovators, and it fills me with joy.

A few years later, we invested in Social Leverage, where Howard is a partner. I got exposure to Robinhood, where we had the opportunity to see first-hand what hockey stick growth looks like. Additionally, we made three other angel investments together. One of these was in Harri which has grown from a platform that recruited for restaurants, to powering key business functions for Dunkin, Jersey Mike’s, and Marriott, among other major corporations. Watching the business grow from a minimum viable product to having hundreds of employees, and impacting millions more, is a special experience.

In 2017, we launched Gurtin Ventures, alongside Erik Davidson, with our own money to formalize our practice, and over the following six years invested in 34 startups through the fund. Highlights from the fund include FightCamp, Kodo, Swag.com, and XOR.ai. In 2023, we brought on an additional partner, Alan Trice, to launch our first fund with outside capital.

Venture capital is very challenging. The day is spent telling a lot more entrepreneurs no than yes. Having been in those shoes, every no is painful for me, regardless of how many times I have gone through the process. There are a lot more losses than wins. Sitting down with an entrepreneur after they have given everything they’ve got knowing it’s the end is a heartbreaking feeling. Emotionally, it is filled with extreme highs and extreme lows.

With that said, I wouldn’t trade my job for anything. The opportunity to spend my time and invest capital with entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams is such a special experience. The world is at a turning point right now, and one way toward a brighter future is by changing the way we do business. I aim to be a small part of that change by empowering the leaders of tomorrow in any way that I can. 

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