LA Venture: Meet Nick Grouf and His PhD-Powered Venture Fund

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.

This week, I sat down with Nick Grouf, founder and managing partner at Alpha Edison, a knowledge-driven venture fund he runs with his partner, Nate Redmond. Grouf is an ardent believer that venture capitalism has become very reactive, and he and his partner aim to take a different approach. Alpha Edison highly values education, diverse opinion and insight, and startups proactively bridging gaps in the market.

Grouf prioritizes sifting through all the noise in the venture industry, which he notes grows increasingly competitive. He built his company on the cornerstone value of diligence and studies sector vulnerabilities to give his fund the best shot at success.

Grouf talks about how he selected his team, and what he values in co-workers.

"We all have different work experiences and we think that those different experiences compliment each other and allow us to come at a problem from very different angles," he said. He argues this is essential to maintaining a competitive edge, as it allows his company to work through potential pitfalls and stay sharply focused on the deals at hand, while leaving room to analyze business decisions.

Grouf also emphasized the importance of recognizing your own weaknesses in order to be a good leader. By admitting his own fears, he said, he was able to better delegate tasks and focus on his strengths.

Grouf believes he has learned most from his mistakes, and that growth often springs forth from challenges. This mentality is also essential in relationships with founders.

"It's a right that you have to earn: to be the first call that an entrepreneur makes — not when things are going well, because if you get good news late, that's no problem — but when things are really tough."

We also discussed how Alpha Edison attempts to identify new addressable markets, Nick's personal investing insights, and how their company uses challenges as unique learning opportunities.

Nick Grouf is the founder and a managing partner at Alpha Edison. He is a serial entrepreneur, and currently serves on the boards of The Hammer Museum, Trajal Harrell Dance Company and Walther School Foundation.

"Far more important to us [are] the things that we do wrong, because we believe that you do a lot of learning in life, but sometimes you learn the most from the challenges." —Nick Grouf

dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.

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Deirdre Newman
Deirdre Newman is an Orange County-based journalist, editor and author and the founder of Inter-TECH-ion, an independent media site that reports on tech at the intersection of diversity and social justice.

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Harri Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to

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Molly Wright
Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics’ student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA’s Daily Bruin.

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