What was one of your most significant investments of the year and why?
Among the 11 new and follow-on investments we made this year there are two that really stand out. One is Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX). Its pioneering technology – including the satellite launch in March – continues to demonstrate their innovation in spacecraft design and manufacturing.
Another is Viv Labs and its global artificial intelligence platform, designed to become more intelligent over time.
Anthony Pritzker, 55
Title: Managing Partner
Firm: Pritzker Group Venture Capital
Rank: Venture capital, No. 9
Years at firm: 20
Residence: Beverly Hills
How do you stay ahead of the game and find investments before others?
We were the only L.A.-based investor for Honest Co., because we worked closely with founder Brian Lee on a number of fronts, gaining his confidence and respect and positioning us well for an invite to participate in the deal. And since we’ve built that relationship, we’ve also been fortunate to work with Brian on some of his latest endeavors, including shopping app Hollar and Bam Ventures, an investment platform fueled by Southern California entrepreneurs. Our permanent, proprietary capital base allows us to grow with entrepreneurs, so we can work with them through multiple rounds of investments as the business grows.
How do you choose your partners in the deals you pursue?
Because our sweet spot is early expansion deals, we work with many firms in any given year. This supports our approach to fuel a company’s growth throughout its lifecycle, from seed to late-stage growth. In 2015, we worked with more than 40 different firms, including March Capital, New Enterprise Associates and Bessemer Venture Partners.
What trends are you seeing in the sectors in which you specialize?
Our investment focus includes consumer, enterprise, digital health, and emerging technology. In all of these areas, we’re seeing enterprise and cloud infrastructure adoption in full swing. We’re also seeing large companies increasingly looking to startups to outsource some technology-enabled business processes.
How have declining valuations impacted your existing portfolio companies and the way you’re looking at potential investments?
With our permanent proprietary capital, we’re able to focus on building valuable companies regardless of cycles in the capital markets. Maintaining a constant investing cadence also helps us weather these cycles, allowing us to focus on balancing growth and cash burn.
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