Launch Pad: Not Your Ordinary VC

Andy Rachleff, W’80 isn’t your ordinary VC.

He’s one of the five co-founders of Benchmark. In their conversation, here’s how Karl Ulrich describes Benchmark: “Benchmark has among the highest returns in the entire venture industry returning—depending on which years you look at—more than ten times what investors put in. And so has had an amazing success record, including portfolio companies like Dropbox, Uber, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram—and those are only the more recent of them.”

And here’s how Andy describes what he did after Benchmark: “Did that for ten years, then retired to teach at Stanford graduate school of business, to become a trustee at Penn where I’ve become really, really involved. My wife started an innovative cancer research funding initiative. And Wealthfront happened by accident based on the experience I had sitting on the Penn Endowment Investment Board.”

Wealthfront, his current venture, is “trying to bring all of the services of high end financial advisors to the people who could never afford the minimums associated with access to those tremendous services. So that means financial planning, investment management, and even banking services. All delivered via your mobile phone,” in Andy’s words.

When Karl asked him: “What possibly possessed you to come out of retirement and start a financial services company?”

Here’s what Andy replied: “This is going to sound corny, but to do a social good.”

You see what we’re saying, here? Andy is kind of incredible. Which explains why we’re giving him the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award.

Listen to this amazing interview to hear not just the stories of how Benchmark and Wealthfront came to be, but also the advice Andy gives his product-market fit class at Stanford.

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