Two of Pritzker Group Venture Capital’s investors are moving to the other side of the deal table.
Ablorde Ashigbi and David Vandegrift are leaving their senior associate and associate roles, respectively, at PGVC to launch 4Degrees, a startup they hope will help users create connections and build stronger professional relationships. While the startup is currently at alpha stage (and the cofounders declined to share details at this time) an introductory Medium post and a website indicate that the startup will focus on streamlining the networking process to help users collide with the right career and life-changing connections.
“Our platform identifies the right connections for you to focus on, works with you to strengthen those relationships over time, and helps you activate your network when you need it,” the 4degrees website reads.
Ashigbi, who joined PGVC in 2014, previously worked at Bain & Company and invested in G2 Crowd, Hightower and Culture IQ, among others, will serve as CEO. Vandegrift, who worked at McKinsey and cofounded Atlanta enterprise software startup MVP Innovations before joining PGVC in 2015, will be CTO.
Ashigbi announced the cofounders’ move, and their motivation, via a Medium post.
“Almost all of the opportunities that have shaped our paths have come through relationships,” he wrote.
Ashigbi was introduced to the consulting industry from a mentor. Vandegrift’s was connected to an internship at a Fortune 20 program through an introduction from his (now) father-in-law.
And it’s not just limited to individual seeking jobs, he noted. Connections can lead companies to a round of funding, a trajectory-changing hire or a strategic partner. “However, despite the mission-critical nature of these activities, there are no products designed to help individuals or teams proactively prioritize, develop, and activate these all-important professional relationships,” Ashigbi said.
Plus, those connections, which are key to moving careers and companies forward, don’t come standard.
“David and I saw this firsthand during our time as VCs, where entrepreneurs without the right connectivity lacked the coveted ‘warm introduction,'” Ashigbi wrote. “They were operating at a knowledge disadvantage. And this goes far beyond entrepreneurship. I’ve watched acquaintances with no prior experience stumble into career-changing jobs through a connection to a family friend while my close friends—with industry-relevant degrees and experience—have been passed over.”
4Degrees is still in the alpha stage of development, and Ashigbi declined to share additional details beyond the blog post and the website.