A Slice on Josh Taylor, Co-Founder of Vortex
Josh Taylor took the uncommon path from growing his career in the investment world to becoming an entrepreneur himself. From a hedge fund analyst after college to a VP at a private equity fund, he was exposed to entrepreneurs and the innovation that comes with them. Eventually, Taylor’s longtime friend, Jonathan Wesley had an idea for a company and asked him to join. Knowing he “always had an itch” to try it out himself, and trusting his friend, Taylor jumped on the opportunity. Together they founded Vortex, a platform that helps software developers troubleshoot faster.
Taking the leap into entrepreneurship posed more than just a financial risk for Taylor. Leaving high finance was risky because he couldn’t just easily fall back into it if his venture wasn’t successful. With that in mind, Taylor still knew he had to try. He quickly realized he knew less about entrepreneurship than he thought, but has enjoyed the challenge of wearing multiple hats and expanding his knowledge beyond finance, into marketing, sales and operations.
Being on the other side of things now as an entrepreneur, Taylor has found it interesting to pitch to investors and see what kind of questions they ask. A difficulty Taylor and Wesley face with Vortex is that it’s a “new market category” and can be difficult for generalist funds to understand. To address this, they plan on finding more technical investors with software backgrounds who can relate. They’ve faced similar obstacles with potential customers. While Vortex may be their “baby”, it’s not the most important thing on customers’ minds so it can take some persistence to get them as passionate about it.
Through his experience as a first-time founder, Taylor has learned how important choosing the right team members is. He started Vortex with someone he could fully trust, and since then that’s been a priority when bringing on new people. “When there are bad days, it’s good to know your team members are in the trenches with you and you can trust them.” Though the team works remotely with members mainly in Utah and Florida, they’ve built strong relationships and value the effect a good team can have in creating a successful business.
Further, he’s also had to create boundaries for work and personal life. “When you’re starting a business, there’s no clear end of the day. You could be working for hours on end, days and days on end, but there’s no, ‘I can put things on the shelf and let it sit’… You can get swallowed up pretty quickly by the day-to-day needs and it can be consuming.” But at the end of the day, Taylor values his family and being a good dad over any kind of success he could have with Vortex.
That being said, he still has lofty goals for Vortex and himself and is motivated by his family and backers (mostly friends and family). Taylor and Wesley want Vortex to be “ubiquitous with helping developers” and really make an impact on their lives. As for himself, Taylor wants to continue learning and growing, becoming more well-rounded in the business sphere.
Josh Taylor began his career in high-finance, as a hedge fund analyst with Ensign Peak Advisors and later a VP of Private Equity at Leavitt Partners. He recently stepped into the entrepreneur role as Co-Founder of Vortex in 2020, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn.