Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah is Part of Boston’s Newest Investment Firm That Wants to Disrupt Venture Capital

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Niraj Shah

BOSTON– Niraj Shah, CEO of online retail gaint Wayfair, is part of Boston’s newest investment firm That wants to disrupt venture capital, Boston Business Journal reported. The new firm, Pillar, is founded by Jamie Goldstein.

“A former North Bridge Venture Partners investor is launching a new $100 million venture capital fund with CEOs of some of Boston’s most well-known tech companies, including Wayfair, Rapid7, TripAdvisor and DraftKings,” Boston Business Journal said.

After spending nearly two decades as a North Bridge investor, Jamie Goldstein said he launched Pillar with the idea of upending the traditional venture capital structure to make the relationship between founders and investors more equitable and transparent, according to Boston Business Journal.

Niraj Shah (Photo courtesy: Wayfair)
Niraj Shah (Photo courtesy: Wayfair)

Pillar’s common stock-only model is likely to attract criticism, Goldstein said, especially among investors who have long operated on the notion that they deserve to have some protections, Boston Business Journal said.

“Some people will think this is just a gimmick, that we’re doing this just to get deal flow,” Goldstein told Boston Business Journal.  “We started from a more noble place, which is that alignment (among investors and entrepreneurs) is going to result in more value.”

Much of Pillar’s first fund has already been raised, and Goldstein said he expects to close the full $100 million by the end of the year, Boston Business Journal said.

Pillar’s founding team, which has contributed to the $100 million fund, include 17 CEOs of high-profile Boston-area tech firms. Among them: Niraj Shah, CEO of e-commerce firm Wayfair (NYSE: W); Corey Thomas, CEO of cybersecurity firm Rapid7 (Nasdaq: RPD); Steve Kaufer, CEO of online travel giant TripAdvisor (Nasdaq: TRIP); Ellen Rubin, CEO of enterprise storage network firm ClearSky Data; and Jason Robins, CEO of online fantasy football startup DraftKings, according to Boston Business Journal.

Shah is CEO, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of Wayfair. He co-founded Wayfair with Steve Conine in 2002 and the pair rapidly grew the business to become the largest online retailer of home furnishings and home items in the U.S., surpassing $2.25 billion in annual sales in 2015, according to the company’s website.

Before founding Wayfair, Shah was CEO and co-founder of Simplify Mobile, an enterprise software company which was sold in 2001. Prior to that, he served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greylock Partners, COO and a member of the Board of Directors at iXL, a publicly traded global technology consulting firm, and the CEO and co-founder of Spinners, which was sold to iXL in 1998.  He holds a B.S. in engineering from Cornell University, and lives in Boston with his wife and two children.

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