Today’s Fast Company article (seen above) was forwarded to me today by one of my fledglings. Two answers to their question:
First, why are they not counting Whole Foods, Zipcar, Etsy, and EBay? How about Twitter? These are companies that set up to improve health, the environment or build communities. Talk to Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures and he’ll tell you they are social enterprises, along with Kickstarter and a few others that his firm has invested in, which could go public if they so chose.
The trouble is that social enterprise is a bit like artificial intelligence. As soon as an AI product goes mainstream it no longer feels like AI. Siri and Alexa are AI. So is Google. So is the algorithm driving YouTube recommendations. And the algorithm choosing the price to charge you for your airline ticket. Those feels mainstream and normal, not magically AI. Same with Whole Foods. Or for that matter Uber and Lyft, which maybe has lessened the number of personal vehicles, but then again may have done more harm than good.
So then we get to the second answer, that the companies with the more obvious social change are still young and growing. Evrnu, Arqlite, Zirconia, and Briotech are my four fledglings most likely to have global impact. I listed them in chronological order. Evrnu is all of five years old. It just launched its first commercial product. It took Facebook 10 years to go public. Fast Company, have some patience! Change takes time.
It takes even more time out in the developing world. I’ve been researching what it means to go public in Africa, and I talked about a plan to do that in the next few years on stage earlier this year. I call that Africa Eats.
TL;DR: Patience… IPOs are coming if they haven’t happened already.