A venture capitalist once told me frankly that when you see the phrase “democratization” in technical marketing material, consider it a red flag. Democracy in general is often associated with an ironic limitation: it benefits white and male participants disproportionately. Well, you know me well enough to know that I normally wouldn’t start your Saturday with this bleak introduction, but I think this reality is why a new tool endorsed by tech entrepreneurs Lolita and Josh Taub becomes, could be in operation to something really innovative.
The Taubs have introduced a matching tool for GP-LP or General Partners and Limited Partners to give underrepresented fund managers access to the capital they need to set up their fund. The match-making tool connects those who want to collect donations (GPs!) With check writers (LPs!). The move follows on from the founder-investor matching tool that has generated over 1,000 launches to date, which they say resulted in 27 checks with total capital of nearly $ 4 million.
Yes, matching LPs to GPs is a relatively simple technology and concept. And that’s a relatively simple experiment. But it couldn’t have existed five and definitely ten years ago. Zoom investing has changed the way people meet and explore. I think the GP-LP tool is an important data point on how aspiring fund managers can bring optionality into their fundraising process.
Speaking of fundraising:
The tool’s explicit focus is on helping only underrepresented people – which it defines as anyone who doesn’t fit the classic Silicon Valley mold, like women, LGBTQ + people, non-Ivy graduates (or people from non-Ivy Elite employers) and non-wealthy -. is a level of differentiation from many other tools. Products like the AngelList rolling fund are great, but the public, ongoing fundraising mostly benefits those who have networks that they can access in the first place. Just do a quick scroll down to see who has one so far.
Let me put it this way: We have come to a point where there are a multitude of tools that founders and investors can use to use their community for checks. What is missing, however, are the tools that enable the community-free, underworked and underestimated access to these opportunities. While LP still hesitates when aspiring managers raise their second and third dollars, this effort is a good step in the right direction. And I’ll follow it up to see how successfully it works.
It’s been a big week for Black and other underrepresented founders:
The remainder of this newsletter will focus on Disaster Tech, Airbnb, and an S-1 submission for health communications. You can always find me on Twitter @nmasc_.
Disaster Tech is at a turning point
Disaster technologies like startups that use data to fight forest fires or analyze brain waves to analyze PTSD after a traumatic event have a moment. Are you surprised? COVID-19 and the ongoing climate crisis have stimulated entrepreneurs to develop proactive solutions to combat the literal disaster. Our own Danny Crichton spent 12,000 words mapping the landscape so you don’t have to.
Here’s what you should know: The Equity team put those 12,000 words on the disaster into one 20-minute episode that focuses on top takeaways and highlights. As Danny explains on the show, “Cataclysms are a growth industry.”
If you are more of a reader than a listener …
Airbnb’s next trip
Since the first travel shutdown last March, all eyes have been on Airbnb, the travel and short-term rental company with global renown. Almost a year ago, the company led sales declines and cut 1,900 jobs, equivalent to around 25% of its workforce. Now that digital nomadic lifestyles and long-term travel are returning, there is also a growth story worth sharing.
Here’s what you should know: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky sat down with our very own Jordan Crook to discuss how his company is preparing for a faster, more nimble post-pandemic reality. Time will tell if Airbnb’s stance wears off, but if you get inside the head of one of the co-founders of a business hit and then revived by this pandemic, there are some tactical tips on how to formulate conflict and how to give the founders some tactical advice it goes on.
Brian Chesky: Little did I know that in a pandemic, a travel company could be even crazier than starting a business based on cohabiting strangers. I feel like I’m 39 now and 49. It was definitely the craziest year ever.
Our business initially fell 80% in eight weeks. I say it’s like driving a car. You can’t go 80 mph, hit the brakes and expect nothing really bad to happen. Now imagine going 80 mph, stepping on the brakes, rebuilding the car while you’re still moving, and then using Zoom to try to accelerate into an IPO.
When the future of life merges with the future of work:
All about TC
If you haven’t heard, TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 is on June 9th. The one day virtual event is filled with the best and brightest minds working on or investing in the future of transportation. The docket is full of founders, investors and experts in micromobility, autonomous vehicles, electrification and air taxis.
The growing list of speakers includes Motional President Karl Iagnemma and Aurora Co-Founder and CEO Chris Urmsonwho will team up to talk about technical issues yet to be resolved, the war for talent, and the best business models and applications of autonomous vehicles. Other guests are Zoox co-founders and CTO Jesse Levinson, Community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler, Remix Co-Founder and CEO Tiffany Chu and Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig. There is also the founder and CEO of Joby Aviation JoeBen Bevirt, Investor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (whose special purpose vehicle has just merged with Joby) will talk about the future of flight and SPACs.
And to answer your next question: Yes, you can still buy your tickets here.
In the course of the week
Seen on TechCrunch
Seen on Extra Crunch