At Your Service: Introducing the new faces driving impact at Primary
Primary is growing! With a newly raised Fund II on the books and an expanding team, we are better-positioned than ever to partner with the best founders in NYC. We’ll share more about Fund II soon, but today we’re excited to introduce three fantastic additions to our team who will help us broaden our impact to our portfolio companies as we help usher them successfully from Seed to Series A.
Three years ago, we launched Primary Venture Partners with the goal of building a firm that would set a new standard here in New York City for how early-stage investors engage with and support the operations of their portfolio companies. At the time, Ben and I had been investing and operating in the city for over a decade and we were consumed by a belief that we could make a real difference if we stepped away from the traditional model - a model that we felt was dominated by lip service about “hands-on” investing, but that was sorely lacking in GPs who were willing to spend real management company resources to build capabilities that mattered.
One result of this strategic approach has been our Talent Program, which has directly placed over 100 critical hires and saved our companies over $4 million in external recruiting fees in the past two years. We also built the Primary100, the city’s only community created specifically for principal and senior engineers, to drive unique networking and problem-solving opportunities among the best of the best in Silicon Alley. And then there’s our Primary Expert Network, which has systematically made available to our portfolio companies the expertise of some of our market’s most skilled functional leaders, all of whom are committed to putting an end to tactical wheel reinvention.
We are proud of what we’ve achieved to date, but we are not yet satisfied - not by a long shot. We’re now on the brink of investing out of our second, slightly larger fund, and as we grow our portfolio, we are committed to growing our portfolio impact in kind. This new fund, in addition to giving us more juice with which to invest in the most promising companies in NYC, is also providing us with the necessary capital to broaden our capabilities and support our companies right where they need it most.
Finance is too often the forgotten stepchild of seed-stage company management functions. In the scramble to get product out the door and build a foundational team, it’s easy to see why. But when financial management - and by that we mean not just closing the books, but managing the entire business by metrics, truly understanding unit economics, and having a strategic view toward future capital raises - is left unattended, cracks in a startup’s foundation inevitably start to show. With a mission centered on helping our companies successfully raise their Series A, we believe that laying more financial management foundation early can make a big difference in a company’s preparedness to talk to Series A investors.
To answer this call, we enlisted former Plated CFO Bob Peruzzi as our new CFO and Operating Partner. While Bob serves as Primary’s own CFO, he’ll be spending the bulk of his time working closely with our portfolio companies to help them build core finance and reporting infrastructure, develop optimal forecasting models, understand unit economics, and build metrics-driven cultures. Having earned his stripes at Plated during its rapid rise and Albertson’s acquisition, and at LivingSocial and Olo before that, Bob has driven financing processes that raised nearly $800 million in equity capital. In just a few short weeks at Primary, Bob has already had a material impact on several of our companies.
Early customer acquisition and product-market fit are the lifeblood of any startup, but they’re very hard to come by. To help our B2B companies establish early momentum, we’ve just launched a dedicated Market Development function to help inform our companies’ go-to-market strategies, access early customers and explore new markets.
Leading the charge here is Raymond Colletti, who will be leveraging his experience as a go-to-market expert at two of NYC’s most successful B2B unicorns: AppNexus and Datadog. Ray has worked on all sides of the customer equation, from product to sales to support to customer success, and we are excited to see the impact that he and this program will bring to the portfolio.
We’ve always been the first to admit that we don’t have all the answers, but with the powerhouse group of operators in the PEN, we make it our business to know the people who do. To help us extend our reach and engagement with the best functional go-to-market experts in the city, we are pleased to introduce Gina Yocom, our new Director of Community, who joins us after working as a Market Development Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Gina is a consummate connector, and we’re thrilled to have her onboard as we continue to broaden our networks.
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We had big dreams when we reframed our strategy back in 2015. And with our eyes trained on the ultimate goal of helping our startups successfully navigate the road from Seed to Series A, we’ve resolved to act a bit like a startup ourselves. We’re testing, iterating, learning and continuing to build our team with the resources that will get our companies to where they need to be. Welcome Bob, Ray and Gina - we’re thrilled to have you on Team Primary!