Pillar Shakes Up Venture Capital with Innovative Model

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Seventeen A-list innovators come together to provide capital, expertise, and capabilities to help build next generation of Boston pillar companies

Today, Pillar says hello to the startup world and introduces a new way of supporting entrepreneurs and delivering active, helpful guidance to increase their chance of success. The firm has launched its first fund and has begun making investments. Its intent is to create the next wave of “pillar” companies in greater Boston; companies that have significant and sustainable impact on the overall economy and ecosystem.

Pillar is the collaboration of 17 innovators who have financed and built many of Boston’s most successful technology companies. Jamie Goldstein, Pillar’s founder and an 18-year venture capital veteran formerly of North Bridge Venture Partners, said, “We saw an opportunity to approach the venture business in a new way, one that completely aligns the needs and interests of the entrepreneurs with those of the investors while bringing unprecedented expertise and hands-on help to the companies we back.”

The Pillar model creates alignment in three distinct ways: 1) By investing in common stock Pillar demonstrates that alignment with the founders is more important than structures with downside protection. 2) By bringing a breadth and depth of real world expertise through its team of successful founders and CEOs, and 3) By providing entrepreneurs with a platform of the best-in-class operational capabilities companies need to succeed.

“Alignment with investors is so critical to any new company’s success – it sets the course for constructive, collaborative working relationships and keeps all parties’ best interests in check,” noted Ash Ashutosh, CEO of Actifio, and one of the 17 innovators involved with Pillar.

Pillar will focus on funding startup firms with exceptional founders, disruptive ideas, and large potential market opportunities.

The 17-member “founding pillar” team, led by Jamie Goldstein, are all from Boston-area technology firms. Combined, they have created $30 billion in value across a variety of market segments. The team includes:

Ash Ashutosh, CEO, Actifio; Jeff Binder, CEO, Layer3TV; Steve Conine, Founder, Wayfair; Tom Ebling, CEO, Demandware, Tom Erickson, CEO Acquia; Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO, Dyn; Dave Husak, Founder and CTO, Plexxi; Steve Kaufer, CEO, TripAdvisor; Steve Kokinos, CEO, Fuze; Rich Napalitano, CEO, Plexxi, Jason Robins, CEO, DraftKings; Ellen Rubin, CEO, Clear Sky Data; Jit Saxena, Co-Founder, Netezza; Niraj Shah, CEO, Wayfair; Deepak Taneja, founding CEO and CTO, Aveksa; Corey Thomas, CEO Rapid7.

Draft Kings CEO and founding pillar Jason Robins commented, "I am excited to be part of a new vision for early stage investment and I am especially thrilled to be working with such a talented group of entrepreneurs. Pillar is taking a unique approach that I believe will resonate well with the thriving community of young startups in Boston, and I am looking forward to helping our city cultivate the next set of great companies.”

About Pillar: Pillar is a new breed of venture capital firm based in Boston, focused on creating the next generation of pillar companies through shared investor and entrepreneur goals, by offering hands-on, real world experience through its team of seasoned business and technology leaders, and by matching startups’ needs with real operational capabilities. The firm was founded by veteran venture capitalist Jamie Goldstein who has helped to build successful companies in Boston including Actifio, O3b Networks, Plexxi Network and Layer3 TV.

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Christine Fiske
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