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Chris Sacca: The One Who Believed in Twitter When Nobody Else Did

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Chris Sacca’s experiences in the U.S. and abroad helped him to become the rockstar investor he is known for in the business world. Aside from acquiring a net worth of $1.2 billion, he is also known for his uncanny ability to see the potential of a product to be successful in the future. That is why is remarkably adored and looked up upon by many young entrepreneurs and business enthusiast alike. A few years after his retirement in the venture investment industry, let us look back into Chris Sacca’s life and career.

WHO IS CHRIS SACCA?

Chris Sacca was born on May 12, 1975, in Lockport, Buffalo, New York. His father, Gerald Sacca, was an attorney, while his mother, Katherine Sacca, was a professor at SUNY Buffalo State who also authored some books in the field of education. He grew up in the suburb of Buffalo with his younger brother Brian Sacca, who later became an actor and comedian. Sacca’s parents exposed him to a variety of interests, and he recalls being pulled out of school to attend science museums and book-readings.

Sacca attended The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He also spent semesters abroad at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in Quito, Ecuador, University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland, and the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. He graduated in 1997, cum laude, with a degree in foreign service and was an Edmund Evans Memorial Scholar as well as a Weeks Family Foundation Scholar. He then enrolled into Georgetown University, his father’s alma mater, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor, cum laude, in law and technology, and received the Philip A. Ryan and Ralph J. Gilbert Memorial Scholar honor in 2000. He recalls that he managed to graduate even though he skipped classes a lot, and in order to make up for his losses, he obtains class notes by throwing an annual keg party where his classmates were required to dump their notes in a bin before entering.

Sacca’s wife Crystal English Sacca is a designer, artist, philanthropist, and has authored books such as “The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That” and “he Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All: Know Your Booze Before you Choose”. The couple lives in Los Angeles, Truckee, California with their three children.

Business Career

While Chris was still in law school, he began his career by establishing a company using his student loans, but after the venture failed, he started trading on the stock market with his remaining money. By leveraging trades for significant amounts ( a flaw in the software of online trading brokers in 1998) he managed to turn $10–20 thousand into $12 million by 2000. But eventually, when the market crashed, Chris found himself in a $4 million debt. Realizing that filing for bankruptcy would ruin his prospects as a lawyer, he decided to create a repayment schedule with his broker. He negotiated to have it reduced to $2.125 million, and he managed to repay it in full by February 2005.

Moving to Silicon Valley, he secured a job as an associate at the law firm Fenwick and West where he handled venture capital, mergers, acquisitions, and licensing transactions for technology clients including Macromedia, VeriSign, and Kleiner Perkins. Accordingly, he also worked part-time in the evenings to gather money to pay off his enormous debt. In late 2001, he was laid off as part of a wide-scale cut at the law firm and found himself unemployed for almost a year.

Frustrated, he eventually decided to redeem himself by establishing The Salinger Group, which only consisted of a well-presented website without any contact details. He even got a name-card to go with the brand and, presenting himself as a company, was able to bag consulting jobs that earned him steady payments and incentives. After briefly working at Speedera Networks, in November 2003, he used his Salinger Group profile to secure a job at Google as Corporate Counsel reporting to General Counsel David Drummond. As part of the legal and business development team, his first mandate was to find large amounts of data space, by negotiating and signing agreements around the world. Chris served as Head of Special Initiatives at Google Inc. leading the alternative access and wireless divisions. Among his projects were the 700 MHz and TV white spaces spectrum initiatives, Google’s data center in Oregon, and the free citywide WiFi network in Mountain View, California. He also led many of Google’s business development and mergers and acquisitions transactions and was on the founding team of the company’s New Business Development organization. He was among the first Google employees given the Founders’ Award, the company’s highest honor.

While at Google, Sacca began investing in companies as an angel investor, investing his own money in startup companies or receiving equity in exchange for advice. He made his first angel investment on Photobucket, which was acquired by Fox’s parent company News Corp, and then made an aggressive investment of $25,000 on Twitter, reportedly exhausting all his savings purchasing the shares. He also served as a professional advisor to companies like Octomatic and Omnisio, helping them with business strategy and in finding buyers.

In December 2007, he founded the venture capital firm Lowercase Capital which provides capital and advisory services to start-ups and late-stage companies in technology and media. The firm became immensely successful, especially after he partnered with Matt Mazzeo from the entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency in 2013. His company has been recognized as one of the most successful venture capital funds in history by both ‘Forbes’ and ‘Fortune’.

In 2015 he first appeared as a “Guest Shark” in ABC’s reality television show Shark Tank, which dramatizes seed-stage investment negotiations. In April 2017, he announced that he was retiring from venture investing and along with it his role on Shark Tank, saying he was “two years late” on his plan to retire at 40 years old. He said his firm would continue to support its portfolio companies, but would not take on any new investments or raise more money from investors.

3 Tips to Be a Great Investor From Chris Sacca

“We buy things we don’t really want with money we don’t really have to impress people we don’t really care about. Forget that.”

“I want to be investing in the future and not the present.”

“The very best products and the very best entrepreneurs are the ones worth arguing with.

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