Mobile-commerce entrepreneur Sonia Nagar is promoted and now is one of five partners at the firm.
Pritzker Group Venture Capital has its first woman partner in a decade.
Sonia Nagar was promoted from vice president. The 36-year-old joined Pritzker Group in 2016 after moving to Chicago from Austin, where she worked for RetailMeNot after the company acquired her mobile-app startup, Pickie.
Nagar is one of about a dozen female partners at Chicago-area venture funds. The industry has been under an intense spotlight for its lack of diversity, and it was an issue for Pritzker Group co-founder J.B. Pritzker in his race for governor against Bruce Rauner. Diversity is a tricky topic for venture firms, small privately held partnerships that want to be seen as both acutely attuned to social issues but also as meritocracies.
“It’s important for a lot of reasons,” said Chris Girgenti, managing partner of Pritzker Group Venture Capital, who is on the board of the National Venture Capital Association. “It’s an important topic for NVCA, something we’re pushing as a group. It will take a little bit of time, but this will be less of a topic of discussion five years from now. It’s all about the pipeline.”
It’s growing, Nagar said, noting she belongs to a networking group of 20 to 30 women investors in Chicago. “When I look around at the VC community, there are a lot of women coming up in the ranks. That will be reflected in the years to come.” Several high-profile venture funds, including Andreessen Horowitz, made headlines by promoting or hiring women partners.
She was hired when Pritzker Group Venture Capital roughly doubled its investment team. “We had family here,” said Nagar, who grew up in Michigan. “I had thought I was going to start another company and was meeting VCs. I had always thought investing would be really interesting but something I’d pursue further down the line.”
She is on the boards of Chicago-based companies SitterCity, Curiosity.com and Interior Define, as well as four other companies. As a vice president, Nagar could lead a deal. But as one of five partners, she’ll have a seat at the table in helping decide the investments made by the firm, which is one of Chicago’s largest and most prominent startup investors. “She’s killed it,” Girgenti said. “We felt she could expand the pie.”