Venture investor, consultant, and entrepreneur Chris Sacca is a super-angel investor who invested early in companies such as Twitter, Uber, and Kickstarter. He holds a law degree and is founder of and partner at Lowercase Capital. The former Google executive is brash, colorful, often unfiltered, and seems never to be seen not wearing one of his signature cowboy shirts.
Chris Sacca had a fairly middle-class upbringing in his native Buffalo, where he and his brother Brian, an actor and comedian of some renown, were reared by their attorney father and professor/author mother. Chris’s parents facilitated his super curious nature in various ways, so when he went off to Georgetown for his undergraduate degree, he wasn’t content studying only on the D.C. campus; he spent three separate occasions abroad as an exchange student in Ecuador, Spain, and Ireland.
Later, as a Georgetown law student, he used his student loans to start a company, which failed, and invest in the stock market, where he turned just over $10,000 into $12 million; however, he lost it all when the market tanked not long after.
A Brief Law Career
Chris Sacca headed west after law school and went to work as an attorney at Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West. His responsibility was venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and licensing transactions, but he was laid off after just over a year. Not sure he wanted to continue practicing law, he made ends meet by networking, writing contracts for low-paying Craigslist clients, and doing voice-over work.
In 2003, he joined Google as a corporate attorney, and he was instrumental in much of Google’s business development during his time there. He also led Google’s Special Initiatives program and was so impactful that he later received the Founders’ Award, the highest honor Google bestows upon employees. Sacca left in 2007 to seek other opportunities and work more with early-stage startups.
The Atypical Venture Capitalist
After leaving Google, Chris Sacca began his career as an angel investor and venture capitalist. He had money, but not the amount typical for an angel investor or venture capitalist, so he involved himself in the companies he invested in. He was a regular at meetings and even took part in negotiations.
Sacca’s first angel investment was in Photobucket, which was later sold to News Corp. His second was in Twitter for $25,000. He eventually purchased so much Twitter stock that he was, in the truest sense of the word, insolvent. That didn’t prevent him from continuing to provide consulting services to various firms, mostly helping them raise money and/or sell their company.
Late in 2007, Sacca founded venture capitalist firm Lowercase Capital to further grow his consulting and investing services.
Chris Sacca finally took his money and founded his own firm, which provides capital, resources, and consulting services to startups as well as to established companies. Although trough Lowercase Sacca has made much of his name and money in tech startup investing, not all of his investments are in tech firms. The Blue Bottle Coffee Company and Truckee restaurant are two that come to mind, part of how Lowercase Capital has become one of the most successful venture capital funds ever.
The company’s first fund, Lowercase I, is worth around $1.5 billion, much of due to its skyrocketing profits from its investment in Uber. Altogether, not only was the firm one of the first investors in Instagram, but it has also invested in such companies as Stripe, Automattic, Docker, Twilio, and Lookout.
Other Interests and Philanthropy
As a man with a reputation for having varied interests, Chris Sacca doesn’t disappoint. He is a frequent guest on reality TV show Shark Tank, where he’s invested in several projects and startup ideas. One of his most memorable came in late 2016, when he invested in a 10-year-old boy’s lemonade stand business by loaning the elementary school student money to expand his business. It was an effort to encourage other kids to follow their ideas and start their own businesses.
Sacca donated time, money, and advice on both of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaigns. He’s also given time and money to various charitable causes, including his goal of bringing clean drinking water to everyone in the world. He also works with the Tony Hawk Foundation, which creates public parks and rec programs in low-income communities.
If you’re looking for an investor to pitch your idea of a world-altering product or service, you better make it truly groundbreaking to catch the eye of in-demand venture capitalist and investor Chris Sacca.