Chris Sacca, a former Google lawyer who rose to fame by betting heavily on Twitter and Uber, says he’s “hanging up his spurs,” and getting out of the investing game.
In a new post, Sacca explains that he achieved what he set out to do when he created his venture firm, Lowercase Capital, in 2009, an outfit that was helped along by early checks from Industry Ventures, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Sacca’s former Google boss, Eric Schmidt.
Sacca had made one early bet in Instagram, as highlighted in a Forbes profile about him in 2015. He quickly moved on to Twitter, however, creating four separate funds to buy up as many shares in the company, including from employees, as he could get his hands on.
“I wasted months trying to get others to believe it could be a real business, not just a toy,” he told Forbes. “And I decided to just buy it all myself.” By the time of the article’s publication, those various Twitter deals had reportedly returned $5 billion to investors.
Sacca later tried repeating the move, gobbling up as many early Uber shares as he could. Yet at some point, his aggressive buying spree created a rift between himself and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who reportedly wasn’t keen on him approaching employees about selling their stakes.
That Sacca — who reportedly owned at least 4 percent of the company at once point (and may still) — has “zero say” in how Uber is run has been “frustrating,” he tweeted in February.
In recent years, Sacca has also distanced himself from Twitter, posting to his active Twitter account in March that, “I haven’t owned TWTR for almost a couple of years. When they failed to get Ev involved again, I lost hope. Love the service, hate the stock.”
In announcing his retirement from venture investing today, Sacca writes that it’s “hard to leave all this behind right when things are going so well. I’m good at what I do and still getting improving as I learn from mentors, founders, partners, friends, family, strangers, my own investors, and the experience itself. The better I get at investing in and helping companies, the result is more founders who are excited to work with me and more of my wonderful limited partners insisting I take piles of their loot to keep it all going.”
Still, says Sacca, with three children under age six, homes in Big Sky, Montana; Truckee, Ca.; and L.A., he’s been trying to invest part-time and realized that it “doesn’t work when I’ve just got toes dangling in the water.” He’s opting not to raise more money for Lowercase, as a result. (He hints that his investing partner at the firm, Matt Mazzeo, will have a fund of his own soon.)
So what comes next for Sacca? To head off any other questions about what comes next, he answers them pre-emptively in a rhetorical question format. Politics? No. More “Shark Tank,” the hit TV show where he has appeared as a judge in past seasons? No.
What he will be doing, he says, is potentially more (other) TV, along with a podcast that Sacca describes as “different from anything else I’ve seen out there,” with subject matter that is “hopefully boundless, eye-opening, and a little cathartic.”
Matt Mazzeo, a former CAA business development exec who joined Sacca at Lowercase in 2012, had told Forbes a couple of years back: “I don’t think Chris is one of those guys who makes a ton of money and drops the mic and leaves the room. He loves the people in the room so much that he’ll stay.”
Times change, however. For Sacca, it’s now “time to walk away.”