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Mr. JJ Kasper - The Unexpected Venture Capitalist

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JJ Kasper, co-founder and partner at Blue {Seed} Collective, never planned on being a VC. He originally intended to be an academic and was most recently one of the youngest partners at McKinsey. His journey has been colorful, ranging from restructuring, consulting, the law, academics, and non-profits.

  

jj kasper blue.xyz blue seed collective venture capital vc

 

How did you get started with Venture Capital? Why do you do it and how do you think you've gained the success that you have?

I founded Blue primarily because I wanted to start my own business and I realized over a number of years that I get bored just focusing on one industry or problem. VC has been a good fit because I get exposure everyday to new ideas and new people and new industries, and Blue has been excellent because I get to build my own biz.

I came to this via time in restructuring, consulting, the law, academics, and non-profits. Most recently I had a very 'cushy' Partner job at a big management consulting firm. I woke up one Saturday and had a revelatory moment in which I realized I needed to start my own business. I went into the office on Monday and quit. I spent almost 1 year figuring out what was next and ultimately started Blue.

We are not a success yet and I don't claim to have any success quite yet. We are 1-2 years in with Blue and things are going well. But VC and especially Seed VC is a long game, and we've got a long way to go. I'll let you know what success feels like when we've got it ;-)

 

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you end up in NYC?

My background is a twisting path. I've never had an objective in my career other than to get exposure to as many ideas and people as possible. I came to VC by way of non-profit work, a long time in the academic world thinking I would be a professor (studied English Lit, Mathematics, Art History, English Lit again, and also taught for many year), time in Management Consulting (where I worked in every industry under the sun, including PE to Financial Services to Pharma to Metals & Mining and even AI -- i.e., Artificial Insemination), and time in the Restructuring world taking on operating roles with companies in or near bankruptcy. All these experiences have served me well in VC.

I came to NYC for a girl. This was back in the early 2000's. I assumed she was moving to NYC because of a short-lived Sex in the City infatuation. I came to NYC imagining I would convince her to leave while also having the moral high-ground of being able to say I'd "tried" NYC. Long story short, she and I broke up, and NYC and I fell in love.

 

What's the highlight of your career?

Making friends at every place I've worked, including some of my best friends in the world at this point

 

What do you do for fun?

I work. I like it. It's fun.

I also paint. I run. I play guitar. I sing (rock, show tunes, and opera sometimes). I read. I walk around NYC. I cook. And every once in a while I knit.

What are your favorite places to hang in NYC?

Alphabet City -- my home for almost 10 years and now the only place downtown Manhattan not entirely filled with khaki pants, polo shirts, and sun-dresses.

Fort Greene -- BAM is my favorite place to sit other than my kitchen table. The food is excellent. And the people of Fort Greene feel to me like what old Manhattan neighborhoods must have felt like Gowanus -- Great bars.

Weird places (Morbid Anatomical Museum). And interesting people. Also a place where I'm helping open a new hospitality venue...

 

What’s something people who only know you through your work would be surprised to know?

Everyone who knows me knows I love Hendricks Martinis, up, with olives, very dry, and not dirty.

The dirty secret is that I actually like Hendricks Gibson's more than Martinis but rarely does a bar have cocktail onions these days (oh the humanity).

In all seriousness, I'm the same at work as with my friends as at a bar as at home. What you see is all there is.

Visit Blue Seed Collective at blue.xyz

 

jj kasper blue.xyz blue seed collective venture capital vc

 

SHOP JJ'S LOOK
 

 

 

THIS IS PART OF OUR #MYSENE SERIES.

 


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