January 16, 2023

January 16, 2023

Joining Pace Capital

With the start of a new year, I am thrilled to share that I am joining the team at Pace Capital. 

Pace is a three year old, $400M fund started by Chris Paik and Jordan Cooper. I really look up to them both. I’ll be the third person on the investing team, working closely with them on what we characterize as high conviction, low volume investing. What this means is that Pace makes very few investments per year, and with each investment we make a deep commitment to serve founders at the highest level possible – Jordan wrote something thoughtful recently on what this means in actuality. Pace only leads financings, typically at Series A though occasionally at Seed, and we are a generalist fund. We will invest in any market, at any layer in the stack, with a team and product that feels uniquely compelling. Here you can find a list of companies we’ve invested in to date.

The thesis-driven nature of investing at Pace means I’ll be spending deep time on fewer things at any given moment, something that is a relatively new style of investing for me. My prior investing experience has been at the earliest stages, where the function is typically to cover many categories and companies at one time. 

Highly focused learning across fewer concepts has always been my preference. I attribute this to the fact that I attended Montessori school until high school. The central tenet of this educational methodology is freedom and independence, and the curriculum is designed accordingly – students arrive at school each day with no set lesson plan and are allowed to work on whatever they would like, for however long they would like (of course, with some guidance imposed by a teacher). This often manifests as students spending weeks at a time only working on one thing that interests them at the moment. I loved this mechanism for learning and it is one of the things I believe most deeply in. It is, however, a difficult mechanism to maintain in a system typically oriented toward outcomes. Over time, I’ve naturally acquiesced to a model focused on pace and metrics and acknowledge that these elements are required for survival in a reality that optimizes short attention spans. 

As an undergraduate at Stanford, I was exposed to an entirely new way of thinking that taught us to move swiftly in order to succeed academically (especially since classes only last 10 weeks in the quarter system!), but to question everything – rules exist so they can be broken. It was a culture of making new things. This mindset informs most of my world view today. 

My interest in human behavior led me to study economics, which eventually led to an investment banking job on Wall Street where I focused on companies in the tech and media sectors. Some very inspiring friends kept my head rooted in the world of building, and I eventually found my way back to the world of startups as an investor at Human Ventures. There, I learned what it takes to build and invest at the earliest stages, sometimes from day zero. 

What really motivates me about this role at Pace is the fact that we are equally focused on the process as we are the outcome. It is a firm driven by high curiosity and deep exploration, which results in true conviction and commitment. This environment feels very Montessori. It also integrates much of what I loved about the West Coast in terms of frontier thinking. I have a newfound freedom to discover and investigate the companies and innovations that are shaping the future of technology, and I am hungry to experience what this really means on a day to day basis. 

My hope is to use this page as a place to keep track of my thoughts and see if other people are thinking about some of the same things. If you are a founder or a potential founder, or if any of these ideas resonate, my inbox is open (grace@pacecapital.com).