Christopher Deutsch ’97

Company / School: Lofty Ventures

Position / Degree: Founder


  • BA, Economics, Vassar College

Chris Deutsch (he/him) has spent 25 years starting up, investing in, and working with early-stage, venture-backed startups in ecommerce, web and mobile applications, enterprise software, and consumer products.

Chris is currently Re-founder and Board Director at Y Combinator-backed teaBOT. Organizations around the world such as Google, HubSpot, Accenture, McKinsey, and 1871 leverage teaBOT’s Amenity-as-a-Service model to provide tea-making robots to their employees, as well as to recruit and retain top talent.

Chris is also Founder of Lofty Ventures, which builds long-term relationships with Chicago’s next generation of passionate and brilliant founders. Investments range from five to six figures in pre-seed to seed-stage startups. Eighty percent of Lofty’s 89 portfolio companies are in Chicago and over three-quarters are led by underrepresented founders.

Chris spent four years as VP of Business Development with Loft Development Corporation, his family’s Chicago-based commercial real estate business, which brought the concept of lofts from New York to Chicago in the 1960s. Loft sold its portfolio of six office buildings and two self/wine storage facilities in 2016.

At Vassar, Chris played varsity lacrosse, basketball, and rugby.

Advice to Students:

From a twitter thread I wrote about building relationships vs networking: 

PLEASE don’t “network” but rather build relationships and communities. Networking is transactional…strike it from your vocab, unless you’re talking about IT. Life’s a million times richer when you give without the expectation of receiving, which is how you build deep relationships. And do yourself a huge favor…avoid “networking events” like the plague. But if you find yourself at one, don’t carpet bomb the room with business cards. Spend your time with one or two people and get to know them on a deeper level than just work. Building relationships takes time and that’s ok. We don’t have to be in a rush to get to the next stage in our lives/careers. Savor the journey…it’s all about the people we share it with.

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