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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

“So, what’s your Tik Tok strategy?”

Charlie Hitch '20 | Wellesley, MA Major | Political Science

Minor | Africana Studies

Across the street from iconic-looking LinkedIn office was a tiny coffee shop that would have been forgotten had it not been for the Bullpen Capital office that lived on the third floor. Walking up the stairs, I was skeptical because I expected an exciting facade from any prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm. When we got upstairs, we were pleasantly surprised to find a uniquely decorated, well organized office. When we sat down for the fireside chat that was lit by a fire illuminated on a projector screen behind founder Paul Martino and partner Andrew Trader, everyone was immediately captivated by their energy chemistry.

“So, what’s your Tik Tok strategy?” I was shocked. I thought all VC/PE firms in Silicon Valley were on the classic Sand Hill Road. Meanwhile, Bullpen Capital was off the beaten path. There was a certain level of modesty, and secrecy, that Bullpen Capital honed in on that I was fully respectful of. Paul Martino was refreshingly unique and down to earth. It was not the content of Bullpen Capital’s brand, or the portfolio management strategy of Bullpen, but their physical presence that I resonated with. To me, Bullpen represented a new way of thinking.

Today was filled with a bunch of things that I never knew existed. I never knew that venture capital firms could be agnostic to industry. I previously thought that venture firms focused on specific domain expertise, but today I learned that Bullpen’s unique strategy of investing in people as opposed to ideas really surprised me. As we finished up at Bullpen and walked over to the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter for the alumni event, I thought experiencing Paul Martino was my last surprise of the night. Turns out I underestimated the Lehigh alumni network!

After having a few enlightening conversations with alumni I had never met before, I wandered over to a younger group of people loitering around the snack table. After a few seconds of talking, we quickly realized that we were in the same fraternity. Although they graduated in 2012 and had never met before, we still had a lot in common. I was very surprised to be so far away from Lehigh and still find people I could be so close too.

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