Tobias Citron (’11), is helping concepts for a better world become a reality. Primary, where Tobias works as a Senior Associate, is all about investing and incubation: from the bud of an idea to growth and product-market fit. Tobias is integral in scouting and forming entrepreneurial endeavors, especially those based in New York.
“Heschel taught me to be intellectually curious and always ask the next question,” he says. “This is a skill and mentality I take with me in my current role, where identifying the right questions is critical.” It’s not easy to invest in early stage businesses; typically there’s no data or revenue that the company is generating, so Tobias has to evaluate the founders and their market opportunity. This entails drawing from his early education which focused on analysis and deep research.
“My job is twofold: it’s to meet with founders and evaluate their businesses, and to help them succeed after we make an investment. We only invest in businesses we think can be life-changing for businesses or for consumers—it’s really exciting to be at the ground floor for that. We get hands-on with founders and help them along the way, which is fulfilling. Everybody’s very smart, thoughtful, and team-oriented.”
Tobias’ career started in consulting for federal government agencies, following his public policy major at Princeton. In that role, he realized something. “I came to believe that the biggest catalyst for real change wasn’t policy and regulation, but the creation of new businesses and entrepreneurship,” he said. It requires foresight to identify successful ventures. One company, Marker Learning, is an online platform for recognizing, assessing, and treating learning disabilities, and is one of the first companies Tobias identified as primed for success.
As a firm overall, Primary focuses broadly on consumer and enterprise businesses, and Tobias focuses mainly on enterprise. His own passions involve food safety and climate change. For now, Tobias is enjoying being back in New York after living in Washington, DC and Philadelphia.