Comment by atlasunshrugged on Profiting-to-Give: harnessing EA talent with a new funding model · 2019-03-04T19:46:14.295Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I really like the second proposal in particular, the work charity entrepreneurship does is phenomenal and I think there is room for companies (not just nonprofits) to be launched that have a focus on generating returns that can be funneled into EA causes or just that have sustainable business models that can be run as for profit entities that do good while making money, employing other EAs, etc.

Comment by atlasunshrugged on Request For Feedback: EA Venture Fund · 2019-01-03T22:44:25.379Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Kit,

Thanks for the thoughtful response! Yes, I wholeheartedly agree the success of a fund like this is dependent on having someone experienced (and with a lot of connections) running it. I've worked for a YC/Andreessen startup from seed to Series B, Rocket Internet, and at a VC firm so I have a base level of understanding and network but I'd definitely either want to have someone more experienced managing it or have a killer group of advisors/partners around supporting.

As for your second question, how valuable is it to actually do this, that's a fair point and I haven't been able to quantify it. My thought was that as it's focused on the seed stage it would be a long term play to engage new groups into becoming EA's or involved in it (namely top founders, LPs, foundations) that wouldn't normally be interacting with EA in this way. This way even if there isn't a great immediate return with a company we've invested in, we could get the founder involved in EA and take the Founders Pledge which they may carry to their next company even if we don't invest, we would get a seat at the table when they're making strategic decisions and try to navigate them to focus on high impact areas we see or if they have giving programs later, direct funds from that, etc.

When you say that counterfactuals are quite bad at impact investing do you mean something like the scenario where a company like Google/Facebook has money thrown at it by VCs and others because they see it's going to be wildly successful? I totally agree with that but think there are areas that get spurned, not because they'd have a bad return but because they're not sexy or obvious to VCs (The story about how difficult it was for Airbnb to raise money in the beginning comes to mind). The startups I was thinking of would be of those sort, or ones in fields like Nuclear that nobody has invested in recently except for Gates and a few others.

I'll reread the Founders Pledge report and incorporate any ideas from there, thanks for reminding me about that!

I also think that the priority paths probably would lead to a higher impact (in fact they've helped dictate a good portion of my career, I'm currently working for the Estonian govt on a digital project to get experience in the govt world so I can get into something high impact in policy or fund allocation hopefully soon) but I was thinking this would be something someone(s) could do in their spare time or that a professional VC could tack on alongside their current fund and responsibilities

Cheers,

Joel

Request For Feedback: EA Venture Fund

2019-01-02T22:00:57.504Z · score: 7 (3 votes)