Making connections, seizing opportunities and staying true to his values
Recent KU Law graduate Nate Crosser, L’19, has a passion for supporting the underdog—whether that be a fresh entrepreneur or a farmed animal. As principal on the investment team at Swiss venture capital firm Blue Horizon, Nate found a way to pursue his callings simultaneously.
“After law school, I was working with biotechnology startups at the KU Innovation Park but also wanted to work in animal welfare and existential risk mitigation,” Crosser said. “All those things came together for me in the field of alternative proteins.”
Alternative proteins are plant-based, cell-based, and fermentation-enabled meat, eggs, and dairy created as a satisfying, socially responsible substitute for animal agriculture.
Using his professional strengths and personal passions as a guide, Crosser accepted a job at the Good Food Institute, a sustainable food systems nongovernmental organization (NGO). He saw success in his first role in the new industry.
“I built up the knowledge base, reputation and network that got me the role at Blue Horizon,” Crosser said.
In his role at Blue Horizon, Crosser contributes to several areas of the operation.
“I work on sourcing, evaluating and negotiating venture capital investment opportunities primarily at the seed stage and primarily in animal-free agrifoodtech startups,” Crosser said. “I also support Blue Horizon’s corporate development through public speaking, creating partnerships and uncovering unique investment opportunities.”
Crosser is grateful to work in an industry that supports his passion for animal welfare and plant-based diet. He has also been inspired by the drive and entrepreneurial spirit of his clients.
“I really enjoy boosting entrepreneurs and helping get their dreams off the ground,” Crosser said.
Crosser had no idea this was where his career would take him when he entered the inaugural LEAD Program class as an 18-year-old college student. Still, his experiences at KU Law helped define his career focus and set him up for an entrepreneurial role.
“My Business and Commercial Law Certificate helped me speak and read more intelligently in the finance world,” Crosser said. “And clerking at Dentons—which I got through OCIs—doing transactional corporate work deepened my interest in doing deals.”
Crosser understood the value of growing his network and constantly making connections during his time and KU Law.
“Networking through the KU Business & Tax Law Club got me an internship at the Kauffman Foundation, a startup ecosystem-building NGO,” Crosser said.
He earned another internship through Professor Lumen Mulligan.
“My relationship with Professor Mulligan, cultivated through the LEAD program, probably got me a role with the UVF Crossroads,” Crosser said.
Professor Mulligan introduced Crosser to his former partner, Jeff Stowell, L’01, who runs the venture capital training program at UVF Crossroads.
As a recent graduate, Crosser searched for work that aligned with his skills and values, and he recommends current law students and other recent graduates do the same.
“Don’t optimize for salary or prestige–optimize for interest, fit, impact and balance,” Crosser said. “I think if you keep working hard those other things will come, and if they don’t, maybe it won’t matter so much.”
— By Sydney Halas