Adam Pritzker has a famous last name, but he's making his own mark in business.
Photo: Robyn Twomey
By Jessi Hempel
October 10, 2013

Adam Pritzker is pumped. Three floors above a narrow SoHo street in Manhattan, Pritzker, 29, strides through a cavernous loft strewn with drop cloths and sets his notebook down on a teak and cracked-resin designer cocktail table. By Oct. 16, the space will be transformed into an intimate showroom in which shoppers can wander through a staged home, purchasing everything from the dishes to the dresses hanging in the walk-in closet. “It’s so cool that you’ll be able to see this table in its context,” says Pritzker, an energetic guy with a mop of wavy dark hair. Kind of like scoping out a stylish friend’s home — and then buying anything you want.

The Apartment is a physical manifestation of Pritzker’s latest creation: Assembled Objects. Self-funded with several million dollars, New York-based Assembled Objects aims to help designers in home, beauty, and fashion roll out new product lines and retail sites by providing support for everything from fulfillment and logistics operations to real estate leasing and in some cases capital.

Until now, this collection of services has been available only to designers selling hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise monthly through companies like eBay-owned GSI Capital. Pritzker wants to provide the same to smaller purveyors, using technology to reduce the cost of the services. “It takes a lot of the cost structure out of the business for an entrepreneur,” says Burt Flickinger III, managing director of the retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group. “No one else is doing it.”

Pritzker is following in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather. Jay Pritzker built the Hyatt hotel chain in the 1950s on a hunch that businessmen needed upscale overnight options near airports. It was part of an empire (holdings included a real estate investment group and stakes in Royal Caribbean International and credit bureau TransUnion) that was valued at about $13.5 billion at the time of Pritzker’s death in 1999.

After graduating from Columbia University in 2008, Adam got the business bug. With three partners, he co-founded education startup General Assembly, becoming its chief creative officer. Launched in 2011, General Assembly was a maverick. At a time when most ed-tech startups were building software, General Assembly ventured into real estate. The company, which offers courses for young professionals in technology, business, and design, created a network of courses and built the classrooms to house them. It was a unique bet that won interest and support from students and funders alike. With $14 million from backers including Jeff Bezos, General Assembly now offers courses in eight cities worldwide.

Pritzker remains General Assembly’s board chair, but in April 2012 he came up with the plan for Assembled Objects. He recruited Sarah Timp, a former Shopbop and Amazon executive, to aid with e-commerce and a former retail executive to help build out the business. His first partners are the Line, an online retail company specializing in high-end basics, like a $760 crewneck sweater, and fashion brand Protagonist. Assembled Objects has offered each startup capital and services to help the fledgling designers get their goods to market. Pritzker’s company will take a cut of the revenue.

Pritzker’s grandfather had a reputation for business acumen. It could well prove to be that, like Pritzker’s mop of brown hair, this acumen is hereditary.

This story is from the October 28, 2013 issue of Fortune.

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