CategoryImpact ecosystem

Put yourself in the shoes of a startup investor

Put yourself in the shoes of a startup investor. Every day you review entrepreneurs, through a sort of funnel: very wide at the top and narrow down below, with only a few investments coming out the bottom each year. The average venture capital firm reviews approximately 1,200 companies in order to make 10 investments. At Village Capital, we make contact with nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs a year...


Last week was my sixth consecutive SOCAP in San Francisco.  If you’ve never been, SOCAP is the largest impact investing event in the world.  Over 3,000 attendees.  Hundreds of speakers.  Big and messy, but one place where you can meet 50 people in a week, all working toward the same goal of improving the planet. The impact above is the pile of cards I collected during the week.  I stare at...

A quick explainer on Impact Investing

What is impact investing?  It’s a question that gets asked a lot, even in the crowd that calls itself impact investors.  I explained the general idea on-stage at The Nature-Accelerator in just three and a half minutes:

The future you want, rather than the future that might otherwise be

One of the challenges of being an “impact investor” is explaining to others what you mean by “impact” as the definition varies from person to person.  The best explanation I’ve ever heard came from Ted Levinson of Beneficial Returns on a panel at a recent SOCAP 365 event in San Francisco (which I heard on the “Unusual Investments” episode of the new Money...

Don’t go chasing unicorns [Guest post]

Venture capital should never have become the standard way for us to fund new businesses. As an asset class, it’s uniquely designed to fund disruptive innovations. It does this by funding ventures that are likely to fail, but — if successful — can result in outsized outcomes. In other words, it’s a ‘home run’ based model. For a venture capitalist, seeing 6 or 7 out of 10 portfolio companies fail...

Self-sustaining (startup) ecosystems

Multiple times per year I host U.S. State Department delegations, Eisenhower Fellows and other people eager to replicate a startup ecosystem in their home city/country. They are always surprised when I talk about Seattle as a city that has a thriving ecosystem, with the two richest men of the world, both entrepreneurs, with hundreds of other millionaires created from those same pools of wealth...

Off in the Corner

Speaking of Seattle, living here often feels like being in a forgotten room in a house, or off in a corner of an otherwise busy meeting room.  Seattle is a city that many people have heard of, but it’s the 15th largest city in the U.S. and (counting the metropolitan area) around the 50th most populous city in the world. But in terms of geography, it is literally off in the corner of the...

A new, impact Cathedral and Bazaar

It was 21 years ago that Eric Raymond wrote an essay about a cathedral and a bazaar, explaining to the world why the messy, open, chaotic format of a bazaar would be the better way to develop software vs. the centrally designed and organized form of cathedral building.  He was more right than wrong, as even the centralized cathedrals of Google and Amazon are based on and contributors to the Open...


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