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Managing Very Well

By Michelle Choate
Vinny Pujji ’10 is the managing partner and co-founder of Left Lane Capital, a venture capital and early growth equity firm.
When seasoned investor Vinny Pujji ’10 landed on Forbes’ prestigious 30 under 30 list, it came as no surprise to those aware of Pujji’s record as a successful entrepreneur. 

In 2019, Pujji co-founded Left Lane Capital, a venture capital and early growth firm focused on consumer and internet technology businesses across North America, Europe and Israel. The firm raised $2 billion in its first two years—one of the largest amounts in the history of its asset class—and Pujji himself has led seven of the firm’s 28 investments from its debut fund. “I love being around company-building, whether or not I’m at the helm,” explains Pujji. “It’s what I read, watch on TV and think about all day.” 

Having come from a family of entrepreneurs, Pujji knew that he would follow the same path. After two years at the Wharton School of Business’ Huntsman Program, he left to co-found a tutoring startup called Altair Prep with a few classmates. The business scaled to offices in four cities, but despite its success, his parents impressed upon him the importance of completing his education. Upon graduation, Pujji co-founded a handful of companies across a number of industries, including an app that provided personal styling guidance for men and a platform that helped with the monetization of social media.

In 2014, Pujji made his first move to the other side of the entrepreneurship coin when he joined the global software investor Insight Partners. He experienced great success at Insight, deploying approximately $1 billion across prospering companies such as Calm, the Farmer’s Dog and Chargebee. He credits his firsthand knowledge of company-building for his ability to thrive in venture capital (VC). “Empathy through real startup experience among VCs is rare,” says Pujji. “I’m very proud that I’ve been in the trenches and think it makes me a much better investor, advisor and confidant.” 

The success and recognition Pujji has received in the relatively early days of Left Lane Capital have only strengthened his commitment to support aspiring entrepreneurs by serving  as a board member and mentor. He has also had to reflect on the secrets of his own success. He considers his experience at La Jolla Country Day School a great complement to the entrepreneurial spirit he inherited from his family. “The biggest thing that Country Day enabled was this ‘go for it’ attitude that’s imperative for entrepreneurs to cultivate. You want a lacrosse team? Start it! You want to study neuroscience or Chinese? We’ll find a professor! The school is truly unique and amazing in the flexibility and opportunity it provides for its students.”
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