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+ Shift.com, 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.
LA Venture: Meet Nick Grouf and His PhD-Powered Venture Fund

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.

Want to hear more of L.A. Venture? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: Disney+ Taps Disney Streaming Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Disney+ Taps Disney Streaming Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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