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.

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