The Decision: taking my talents to Chaac Ventures
Bayo in 2016 on his first day at Princeton University (left); Bayo in 2020 on his last day of college (right).
Today, I am pleased to announce that I am officially joining Chaac Ventures, as the firm’s first hire.
Being the first hire is no small matter, and I am proud that Chaac has chosen me for the role. It’s crucial that this position is held by someone who brings the right skills, network, and mind to the table, on behalf of Chaac’s founders, our investors, and our growing team. Thankfully, the past few years have prepared me well. I first met Luke Armour (P’13) at Princeton’s entrepreneurship lab, where he was delivering a startup talk to students with Chaac portfolio company founder Kristen Sonday (P’09) (co-founder of Paladin), near the end of my freshman year at Princeton University. We got along right away.
Meeting Luke and Kristen that day, and learning from their ups and downs as first-time entrepreneurs, had a huge impact on me and helped solidify early-stage ventures as a true passion of mine.
That summer after freshman year, I joined Chaac as an intern, and took an apprentice-approach to learning the venture capital model from the ground up — with Luke as my mentor. I appreciated the unique opportunity to be a first-row participant in the development of a new VC firm in untested waters (i.e. Princeton’s early entrepreneurship ecosystem). It was simply an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, if only to one day look back and tell the story.
Luke and Bayo outside Princeton’s Entrepreneurial Hub
As a first assignment, Luke helped me publish a Medium Post guiding Princeton students in the art of building a ‘one pager’ so they can structure and articulate their startup ideas. Over time, I became a ‘learn-it-all,’ absorbing every startup article, book, and podcast recommended by our team.
Most important of all, I was given the opportunity to learn directly from real-life entrepreneurs and investors, discuss their companies and journeys with them, and support student entrepreneurs with whom I shared classes. It was truly a once-in-a generation opportunity for a young undergraduate. The impact we’ve had in the Princeton startup community since then has been remarkable. The ecosystem has exploded; at least two other VC firms have begun investing in Princeton founders; the University has been pouring significant resources into supporting entrepreneurs; and I believe our contribution has been especially meaningful.
In my three years at Chaac, I’ve helped evaluate over 1,200 founders (resulting in 12+ investments), participated in all parts of the diligence process, managed an internal pipeline with hundreds of opportunities, and helped build and maintain over 3,000 relationships with Princeton students, alumni, researchers, and professors. During the summer of 2018, I also had the opportunity to work with seven promising Princeton startups as an Associate with Princeton’s eLab Accelerator. I’ve been incredibly honored to actively engage and support Princeton’s undergraduate and alumni communities, advising several startup founders on and off campus. Perhaps, my proudest achievement during my time at Chaac, has been co-developing our internship program, so other students from diverse backgrounds could get the same exposure I’ve been so lucky to have. Since my first summer, we’ve brought on six summer analysts — and many more short-term collaborators — and helped them learn about startups and venture capital through direct exposure to the industry (read more about our summer analysts here and here). Being a bit immodest for a moment, our team has often complimented me on the quality of my contributions, and my attention to detail, which only further fuels my desire to grow into an exceptional partner in our mission to seed the next generation of visionary Princeton founders.
If you are a Princeton student or alum interested in connecting with me, or with Chaac Ventures, I would love to speak with you! Please do reach out at email@example.com
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