Meet Erik Hammer, AVG’s Chicago Principal
Erik Hammer recently joined the AVG team as a Principal in our Chicago office, focused on early-stage equity investments. We were able to catch up with Erik to chat about how he found his way to our firm, and how his diverse experiences have helped him build a career in the venture space.
How did you make your way to AVG? (personally, academically, professionally, etc.)
I’ve had a passion for venture investing since starting my own business and then interning at a VC fund during college. After getting my MBA at Kellogg, I moved into a full-time investing career to pursue my passion. While working in strategic investments for the PGA TOUR, I was made aware of the opportunity at AVG through my network. Luckily, it was an opportune time to relocate our family back to Chicago.
What sparked your interest in working at AVG?
As a Kellogg alum, I was very familiar with the power of Purple Arch Ventures. I believe the AVG model is differentiated in the access it provides to individual investors and the proposition to high-growth companies seeking capital. I’m excited to join the team!
How did your time in college and the connections you made there influence your career?
I was a liberal arts major in college but also found opportunities to pursue my interest in entrepreneurship and innovation through elective courses and extracurriculars. I think this breadth of study and the corresponding relationships I built across majors gave me a valuable network and perspective. As I’m looking at investment opportunities or career decisions, I’m frequently drawing upon former classmates for insights and advice. I have continued to build my academic connections throughout my career by attending Kellogg for my MBA and recently doing a Venture Capital program at HBS.
What trends in venture capital are you excited about?
Technology and new business models consistently find ways to transform markets that are traditionally outside of venture capital target segments. This means that a successful venture capitalist needs to build networks in unique industries and previously untapped geographies. This is one of the reasons why I believe AVG’s alumni network and portfolio services truly gives it a unique platform going forward.
What resources do you recommend to people interested in venture capital or entrepreneurship?
I would start with your school’s entrepreneurial center or incubator. This is a great place to get a feel for ways to engage with the community. Furthermore, I would simply take 10–15 minutes each morning and read a variety of industry blogs/newsletters/sites. Pick a couple of industry segments that you are passionate about and try to become extremely knowledgeable about issues/technologies in those segments.
What are you looking forward to the most since joining the team?
Everyone I meet at AVG is smart, curious, and collegial. I look forward to building ongoing working relationships across our offices and fund teams that can translate into great opportunities for our collective investors. Furthermore, I am excited to make connections for our portfolio companies across AVG’s powerful alumni network.