Sources: Andy White, Vegas Tech Fund partner, latest to go in Tony Hsieh's housecleaning
I'm hearing from various sources close to the Tony Hsieh's Vegas Downtown Project that Andy White, a high profile partner in the Vegas Tech Fund, has been "let go" from the fund. I'm using those quote marks until I can get on the record confirmation of the circumstances behind White's departure but the unconfirmed word in Vegas is that White was the latest firing in Hsieh's downtown bloodletting.
The departure comes just weeks after the surprise shuttering of 3D printing startup Factorli, apparently at the behest of Vegas Tech Fund.
Whatever the reasons for White's departure the move is significant as he was one of three partners -- along with Hsieh and Zach Ware -- who were responsible for driving Vegas Tech Fund's investment strategy. White was the partner most day-to-day involved in my company, NSFWCORP's, investment from VTF and was frequently described as "running" the fund. [Disclosure: VTF is also an investor in Pando.]
With Hsieh having publicly distanced himself from the day to day running of the Downtown Project and Ware heavily involved in his own ambitious startup -- Shift -- it's unclear who this move leaves in charge of finding and managing VTF investments. Hsieh was never very involved with the mechanics of the fund, acting more as an ambassador for the wider Downtown Project and voting only as a veto when it came to deciding new investments.
According to the fund's website, the other two partners still involved are Fred Mossler -- still working full time at Zappos -- and Will Young who, according to his Twitter bio, is currently based out of San Francisco.
I went back to Vegas the week before last to try to get a handle on the reason for the multiple recent departures at the Downtown Project. I learned a lot about what's happening in my old stomping ground and I'll be following up with a longer story soon but one big takeaway from entrepreneurs and community members who are still there is that the bloodletting is a positive sign that Hsieh is finally trimming back dead wood, something he has been almost ludicrously reluctant to do until now.
We've contacted Vegas Tech Fund for comment and I'll update this post when I hear more.
[Image credit: Videograb from Tech Cocktail]