The Changing Nature of Investment

thanks for joining us everyone we’re
gonna have a discussion about investments as journalists with
TechCrunch for the last 300 years it’s been great by the way the two things
that entrepreneurs always say to me is that is there is a key to what they’re
doing is people and money so we’ll talk about the money and we’ve got a great
panel here because what’s great is we’ve got a really great international
perspective as well as a great London perspective first of all let that we
were allowed a couple of opening statements so just to introduce if we go
in from my rights we’ll get a little maybe a sort of a quick download on what
everyone is doing what everyone’s working on you’ll get to know them a bit
more we’ve got about 35 minutes to get through this they said no Q&A but I’m
not sure I might rebel against that so first of all first of all let’s hear
from Ali Tamaseb so round of applause from Ali from DCVC venture capital firm called DCVC data
collective we invest in deep tech and applied AI over a billion dollars
assets under management and your early-stage venture capital firm very
excited to be here talk about how data is different disrupting venture and how
wench’s disrupting yeah wonderful thank you short intro I’ll ask
the questions later okay him police police one of the pioneers of the tech
industry in the last few years in Silicon Valley and now an investor Kim
over to you absolutely thank you I am just tell you briefly a little about the
work I’m doing right now I’ve been a founder of various
technology companies over the year and an angel investor and realized that as
many of us have startup investing is broken the venture model it’s broken in
many ways when it comes to returns from venture funds and also when it comes to
access to capital for others and also geographies when the
when you look at the startup economies they’re very concentrated in just a few
parts of the world so I’ve co-founded a company called
Crowdsmart four years ago we use AI and collective intelligence to actually
create a prediction model for start-up investing and we use a combination of
collective intelligence which is the science of cognitive diversity you make
better predictions when you have groups of cognitively diverse people who are
making those predictions and we apply AI machine learning a natural language
processing Bayesian learning to what the collective intelligence of the community
says and we create a quantitative score that actually predicts the probability
of return on investment for a particular company we actually raised a small fund
about three years ago to test the prediction accuracy of the the platform
and we’ve invested in about 25 companies now 80 percent have gone from seed to
series a the rest are doing fine so no one’s gone under we’ve also tracked the
companies that did not score high and for the most part they did not go on to
raise funding so that’s an interesting indicator also 40% of these companies
are founded by women that’s top scoring companies which was not intended so we
think it’s a side result of reducing ingrained bias which is what happens
when you are actually being assessed on what you know not who you know so it’s
early days small dataset but we’re we’re pretty excited about the potential to
take this global I can talk more about it thank you very much round of applause
for Kim please thank you and next last of all let’s hear now from Nick Brisbane
from forward Partners Nick so so briefly about Ford partners we founded four
partners six years ago now and we’re a precede and C stage fund here in London
and to things that are different and hopefully interesting about us so
firstly we work with a lot of companies from day one actually one of their
existence that’s about half of our portfolio it’s a very early stage and
secondly we have a big value-add team that we keep inside our fund which is
there to help our portfolio companies to have more success and habit more quickly
and so they kind of the question that’s in front of us today on this panel you
know what’s changing the investment investment landscape there’s it’s not
this changing actually in a very positive way a lot of great innovations
for founders their vision for partners is a world where every founder realizes
their potential and some of the things that are happening these days are
getting us more towards there but we’ve got a couple of big challenges actually
one of which talks to what Kim was just describing so firstly ninety percent of
startups still failed have been stuck that way for 25 years now and that’s way
too high you can bring that down and and I will look at the part of my portfolio
that we’ve invested in on day one that’s trending towards a 50 percent success
rate and when we analyze that part of part of the higher success comes because
we help founders to make better decisions about whether they should
start their companies are not in the first place you know that’s a big deal
and that really talks to to what you’re going and then the second thing is that because of the value add team we help we
bring experience of working across 50 odd startups and so we get high quality
people into our companies more quickly and they learn the lessons of
entrepreneurs that have gone before them to a much greater extent so we can
really drive down that failure rate will bring more entrepreneurs into the
ecosystem will get more innovation and ultimately that’s the big win here it
gives us more great ready for more economic right thank you very much Nick
right let’s go straight into it you mentioned Kim you mentioned and
machine learning and the AI I know for instance that VC d CVC sorry
it’s like ac/dc which way around does it go through you are very interested in
the machine learning and AI as a journalist I get probably 20 emails a
day from entrepreneurs saying we are machine learning we are machine learning
driven we are AI driven is this really just a PR strategy and how can you tell
the difference when you’re talking to an entremet entrepreneur well I I think so
I think absolutely a big part of it is PR strategy and you know machine
learning AI today is soft first coding of 10 years ago so it’s just a new wave
now machine learning is just a tool set and in part of the tools that a lot of
companies are using today and I think the way to identify them is its twofold
so some sort of companies are developing new types of machine learning models so
companies that are at the forefront of pushing AI and the academic side so
companies like primary I comes with like element AI who are developing new models
for themselves and then on the other side for AI we need data so it’s
companies that are developing their own data so not using you know third-party
data companies like planet labs that are gathering data from the from the earth
companies that are gathering host data companies that are gathering medical
imaging data and so I think if either they own the data or they own the AR
front and developing it on that front otherwise mostly I see I see it as PR or
just just a part of the toolbox does that mean if you’re not in AI you’re
screwed not necessarily probably at this time but in two three years or even
probably now it’s it’s like you know a company is a software company of course
it’s a software company of course it’s an AI company you’re using data you’re
you’re building something new so I don’t think you’re screwed but it’s just as
normal as hey I have an app Kim you’re using machine learning input as part of
your investment strategy does that mean you automatically discard entrepreneurs
who aren’t you also employing those those new tools oh not at all no so let
me just maybe take a step back the what we what we do is actually we work with
accelerators top accelerators investors accelerators all over the US and the
world to source startups of all different
kinds so they don’t they’re not just AI startups it could be biotech or robotics
or whatever we then assemble a group of cognitively diverse experts so 30 to 40
people at a time will score a start-up we ask open-ended questions like do you
find us a compelling investment opportunity if so why what are your top
concerns and then we ask specific questions around product market fit team
IP traction and we use NLP nationally image processing to actually analyze
every word that is spoken and we create means there’s a knowledge model a
knowledge map that’s created out of the conversation that results it’s an
open-ended conversation people can upvote each other’s ideas and founders
can answer questions this is all virtual it happens over three to four weeks and
then out of that we’re using machine learning to analyze what the themes are
that resulted and over time we plug every analysis of every startup into
this model so we are able to create a system that identifies patterns that
indicate whether this company has a probability of return on investment of
positive sounds it sounds like the the holy grail of investing though if you
get this right isn’t this the equivalent of winning the you know working out how
to beat the house at every casino in town if we get it right we think we can
take this everywhere in the world where there’s abundant talent and abundant
capital but the capital is not finding the talent and if we can actually unlock
that capital by creating a quantitative score to increase the confidence on the
part of the investor we can create startup ecosystems everywhere and that’s
really the vision here the problem is is that an early stage certainly you’re
talking about investors having to deal with entrepreneurs on a one-to-one basis
get to know them as human beings time and again I hear entrepreneurs say
that the best way that they work with their their investors is you know
literally sort of staring them in the eye kind of thing how can the all
machine Liat learning and natural language process platform you know
create that environment so what we’re focusing on is the seed stage so this is
that basically once you’ve raised a little bit of friends and family money
maybe you know up to 150 K or something you’re raising a seed round now and what
happens is over a three to four week period during these open-ended
conversations that happen online there’s also live Q&A s with the
founders the founders can also respond to the questions and are actually very
active so the virtual dragon position yes
shark tank that’s exactly right and we’re creating in basically a whole
knowledge model we’re creating a datum out of all of the conversation that
results over that month-long Pyrenean cerned that that kim’s crowd smart
platform was basically gonna put you out of a job now because you’re she’s coming
in from space like a Klingon battleship you you know you’re trying to kind of
you know run around London on the tube the weather’s terrible what what how can
you scale what you do so look I think anything that helps founders to
understand whether they’re likely to get funded or not its net good in the world
definitely a big help no I don’t and I’m gonna go on a bit of
a limb here in an AI conference and say that and I may never get invited back
say that I don’t think AI is going to fundamentally disrupt any capital any
time they’re so in the next five to ten years and let me explain why and then it
will explain you know that we all have got a couple of area projects going I’ll
explain them but they operate at the margins of the business so the big
challenge you have in venture capital that we saw four thousand business plans
last year we invested in eight okay and so if you look at the the data set that
you’ve got there’s a lot coming in but they’re kind of the number of success
cases you’ve got a pattern matcher on is very small as first challenge and then
the second challenge is the feedback cycle is you know average time to exit
for these businesses if we do a good job it’s going to be five to seven years and
so the the time to feedback into the into the model to make it smarter is
it’s five to seven years and so you know that it’s just you know it’s going to be
a long time before we can go here’s the here of the 4,000 business plan to tell
us which eight we should invest in what you can do in the short term and these
are the two things we have going we’ve got a most trivial end we’ve got a bot
that crawls LinkedIn and find suitable founders on a bunch of criteria that we
that we’re looking at industry sectors where they change their job status and
so on and we reach out to them one and then two perhaps more interestingly so
four thousand plans four hundred meetings last year and so that kind of
one of the big challenges in venture is where your team spends their time how
they go from the four thousand to the four hundred and there there is enough
signal there I think we can build some kind of machine learning
than where you feed at the and it’s quite complicated right you need to feed
it the email train and the PDF and it needs to look for the signals in that to
tell you okay this is 90 percent chance you’re gonna want to meet this one 10
percent chance you’re going to want to meet this one and they’re all allow our
team to to just process the deal flow more efficiently make it allow the story
from the funnel a bit a bit wider at the top so that would be great and we’re
doing it but to put some numbers around that that’s probably you know the moment
that kind of 4400 there’s two people on our team do that it’s maybe half their
time probably a bit less and so there’s something real to be had there but it’s
not you know it’s not going to be transformative but let’s talk about
trends so there’s a great report out today saying that
yada-yada Britons doing really well in tech that’s the usual things from tech
nation they’re paid by the government to say this sort of thing
and then there’s then there’s Silicon Valley we nose booming of course never
been bigger where there’s several thousand millionaires about to be
created will have been created because of the
uber IPO the you know the juggernaut that is Silicon Valley is is
unassailable the European tech scene has got bigger
by huge magnitude over the last 10 years is location going to continue to be a
factor I mean you seem to be saying that location is the granik’s was gradually
going to be less of a factor you’re obviously building your ecosystem
in Washington how much of sorry it’s okay if I sort of dcve yeah that’s
because your name puts me off DC visit is because you know how much of a
location is still going to be a factor or is it is it can anyone get funded for
anyway so we we found internationally we have
companies in New Zealand if companies in the UK their companies in Europe in
Canada but still mostly in the u.s. we invest in in founders and technical
expertise and their BC deep technical expertise and I tend to see one reason
we may not invest in companies that are kind of further
ahead from us or a problem that I’m seeing is is the level of ambition and
people who can take it from a hundred million dollar company to a ten million
dollar company so we see a lot of talent in Europe and especially in the UK a lot
of AI and deep tech but we don’t necessarily always see the leaders who
can take them to become massive successes so I think that more
investment with more cycles and in these regions we can see more successful
people who’ve created large companies to stay in and develop the next in the next
and the next so it’s probably just a matter of time long has become a big
International Centre you have entrepreneurs coming from all over the
place Nick is London still a factor or is it
we are you getting incoming from everywhere we do get in coming from
everywhere we get that best thing coming from London in the UK for sure so it is
a factor yeah yeah so early stage investing you alluded it right at the
start is about personal chemistry personal relationships between VC and
investor and and so for seed and pre-seed you do need to have people on
the ground but what is definitely happening is you know 30 years ago
Silicon Valley was the only show in town on the planet and now we’ve got sizable
ecosystems big enough to be self-sustaining in a bunch of other
places London included and what we’ll continue to see more of that but I think
it will cluster in in a number of key cities what are you thinking I think
again I just go back to capital as abundant everywhere and talent is
abundant everywhere and the problem is they don’t meet each other they don’t
connect and what I think one of the most powerful things around the world are
universities and there are communities around universities and increasingly
there are accelerators Silicon Valley cetera and everywhere else in the world
and there’s there’s a community of people who care alum alums people in
industry obviously academics and students with energy who want to take
technologies and innovations and go start companies and obviously they don’t
have in doing so but over time that get that
can develop and one of the things we do is we partner with accelerators
everywhere and funds micro VCS family offices are also you know wealthy
families are increasingly interested in funding startups coming out of their
countries their geographies so we’re not actually another fun competing with
funds we’re providing technology jet funds and to accelerators and so I’m
encouraged I’m optimistic that this can can change more quickly than perhaps you
know generation that it seems like it’s taken to get some of the other cities
geographies around the world she could be able to compete on reasonably equal
footing with Silicon Valley and again I think it’s about empowering what already
exists tapping into what already exists the talent and the capital one of the
trends over the last few years if you look at it is that is that there’s been
a bifurcation in in terms of investing is that a lot of investors have gone
earlier in earlier stage because they don’t want to miss out on their next
uber that’s kind of skulking away at the back of the pitch contest or whatever
and they don’t and then once you get past the A’s and the B’s and what have
you you you’re you know you’re fine you’re cooking with gas you can raise as
much money as you like you can stay private as long as you like you just tap
on the door of Softbank and and continue to raise until you’re all ready for an
enormous IPO but the people who get past proceed towards a the people who get to
aid there’s a sort of a valley of death after a to some extent often isn’t there
why do you think that’s happened and what do you think we can do about it
what do you think so I think there is one part of this it’s because of the
abundance of capital interest rates are low so people tend to raise more funds
tend to raise more and they’re doing more full-stack they’re trying to get in
as early as they can and some funds are trying to basically cover the growth
stages well I think one reason we have this value of death is probably the
valuations so these companies keep raising more and more and by the time
the you know valued at 200 million dollars
and you’re a large you know Series B Series C company their revenues don’t
justify so it’s hard to get them and find VCS who can cover that part and
there’s so many VCS covering this preseason seed and maybe a stage and so
many so little VC firms who are covering the B and C and D stage and then there’s
Softbank and kind of the IPO stage or the pre IPO stage so yes there’s there’s
not enough VCS there and there is probably a mismatch of what what
valuations these companies reach by veneered Series B and there’s no
investor who sees how I can multiply my capital by a large factor at that point
do you can see you see terms improving because there’s been so much competition
over the last few years at this super early stage you know I don’t know is
getting a good deal it depends on I think the geography to some extent you
know in in Silicon Valley you’ll see valuations much higher than the same
company would have gotten any anywhere else so there is some sort of a level of
insanity that comes with the exuberance I would say in terms of valley of death
though it’s it’s really seed to Series a because there’s so much so many
companies get seed funding but they just can’t get to series a and the series a
size fund sizes have gotten so much larger so you know you now have precede
see you know super seed mezzanine seed late seams right exactly and then you
know the other challenge is for for the investors who are looking at you know
seed deals and whether they they should get follow-on funding is the diligence
the process of diligence you know and it’s this is one of the areas that for
non sort of institutional VCS if you’re a family office or your micro VC or your
corporate VC you don’t have the resources to do the diligence that you
need to do so that becomes an issue on the investor side which is which is why
again this is a different approach here of using cognitive diversity a
collective community to do the scoring and creating a quantitative model is is
sort of better than what often happens which is reaching out to your friend you
know thing about this this area or throwing a
dart and hoping you know because somebody smart invested in them already
and there’s that herd mentality that whole partners you make you make a
relatively quite a big thing about how you know you’re very much also a company
builder on you you put tools around the entrepreneurs do you find that it’s that
value adds that helps these companies and what do you think about the valley
of death issue thank you for the question so rather than kind of value out that we
put around we like to think of it as a it’s a platform a set of tools and
services that we provide you know founders succeed because they
are great entrepreneurs ultimately not because of any wrapping that we’ve been
around them but you know they believe that if we provide a good set of tools
of feda set of tools than any other investor then we’ll win best deals and
and the companies that we back will grow faster and have more success as a result
and so it’s early days but the model is looking like it’s working I described
earlier the feedback cycle for a for a machine learning business which
analyzers or machine learning algorithm analyzing investment success but it’s
the same for new venture capital model so we’re six years in and the proof will
be in the pudding will come out in another four or five years or so and
right now companies in the portfolio a raising money and ever-increasing
valuations the revenues are growing nicely but but you know we haven’t we
haven’t got the big exits yet which ultimately ultimately we’ve been a mark
of whether the whole model works or not but I believe it will get there and you
know more and more people have any money behind us to concur with that and to the
to the kind of series PNC point or valley of death wherever you think the
valley of death is so so so in the UK right now I would say it is Series B and
C and for me it’s a it’s a market question the you know so when I started
in this game 20 years ago there kind of there was no value of death it was all
death wasn’t it pretty much there was there was a kind of brief
bubble in nineteen ninety thousand and then and there was no money for anything
really and then slowly we got more C funds and Series A funds and that part
of the market is relatively well funded and now we’ve got all these much later
stage funds as well then that’s creating much more opportunity in Sirius B in
Serie C and friends of mine or entrepreneurs and the venture capital
industry that’s where they’re increasingly focused now bets where
people are trying to raise the new funds and I think unlike that they’ll be
successful and at that point the valley of death will kind of move somewhere
else in the in the chain now we you know it’s 2019 and I think probably 10-15
years ago people thought you know the venture capital would industry would
sort of continue trundling along more or less that had done since the 90s and
then there was a whole load of new funds and then a whole load of though
obviously more and more exits later on which then created more entrepreneurs
certainly in Europe we’ve seen entrepreneurs become investors in their
own right you look at someone like Alex Chesterman from Zoopla who’s now who
you’ll never get on a stage by the way we call him all the time Alex come and
get on a stage no B flat line so if you see him say hi from me but he’s in he’s
a serial investor now so that’s all fantastic but the model also changed so
we ended up with crowdfunding from the likes of crowd cube Cedars equity crowd
rounds from these guys it still seems early days from some of those crowd
equity crowdfunding things what do you think do you think that’s kind of you
know jump the shark to use that phrase or do you think it’s gonna be around for
a little bit longer anyone early um so what I like about
crowdfunding and especially equity crowdfunding is giving access to
everyone basic democratizing this access to invest in this very early stage
companies however I think we seize the main value add is
and their firm isn’t building companies and helping and picking the professional
teams so on one side I’m happy that this gives access to non VCS and non
professional investors to get better access but on the other side feel like
the best companies today that if you look at the best companies they are
company or venture backed companies rather than companies coming out of
equity crowdfunding or something of that sort
well you know that sort of vision of crowdfunding is many more companies can
get access to capital you don’t have to know someone in the venture capital
industry and that’s a wonderful thing problem is that it’s also the potential
for a lot of regular folks to lose a lot of money and and so the that’s one of
the reasons that again we’re taking the approach we are which is creating a
quantitative scientific model around analyzing does this company actually
have a chance but can anyone replace your platform or is it only qualified
investors today we only allow qualified investors to invest in these companies
but we’re in the process of partnering with a company that provides equity
crowdfunding for non-accredited investors and so they will take our
platform so you are subscribing to them yes through a partner who’s going to be
doing that again and I’m subscribing to it because this is creating a safety net
a qualifying approach for the non-accredited non professional
investors it’s like a moody score or a FICO score or a you know a way ul
certification can I trust that this company actually has been vetted by a
lot of people who actually have expertise that I don’t have and who are
you know creating a level of confidence that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to
have to be partnering with I can’t and name them yet but nearly ten you hmm
probably in the next six months or so okay getting it to TechCrunch first Nick
you’ve seen the crowdfunding’s taken off quite a lot you got you can go past an
advert on the tube proceedures see this crowd fund think I saw a golf bag or
something the other day what what do you think’s going on there
a small investment in Cedars back at my previous fund so there’s a space that
we’ve looked at much well so I think where it’s ending up is the crowdfunding
is as a really important place in the market but it doesn’t overlap that much
with what feces are trying to invest in you know for companies that are going to
be very big then crowdfunding it makes sense for a
small number of them so Mons oh one of the unicorn successes here in London did
a crowdfunding campaign to its customers and you know and that helps build some
brand loyalty so that kind of is helpful at the margin but if you look at most of
the activity on crowdfunding sites it is it’s small businesses raising money from
from people they know from like their coffee shops raising money from 10 15 20
grand from from their customers and that’s nice and it helps fund that part
of the market but it’s just a kind of different end to to venture capital and
just in the closing five minutes it’s worth mentioning that we all thought the
whole thing would be replaced by icos about 18 months ago that everything was
going to be replaced by I cos I talking of course about initial coin offerings
in the blockchain space where entrepreneurs were raising billions and
billions billions of dollars do you think that the that that will come back
because bitcoin has come back do you think or do you think that that all of
that crowd that sort of community crowdfunding so that the star stuff will
you know dissipate because of well kik is being sued by the SEC freestylers
right now and secondly most of that crowdfunding was all about funding other
blockchain projects wasn’t it it didn’t really enter the traditional internet
space so I think it will come back hopefully this time more cautiously and
people would would be more aver if this is scam or if it’s not and there’ll be
more kind of vetted companies and more qualified companies coming in I’m
actually I think again similar to equity crowdfunding crypto I cos is just
another tool set for people to be able to have ownership
maybe control maybe governance in a startup company or in a company so I
think that’s that’s good and that’s helpful but you know we just
need more governance surrounded and more professional investors who help these
companies go go ahead and in giving the access to to non professional investors
to also be able to enjoy their benefits will bring very polite about the space
because basically there was a bit of a shit shown most of it for the last 18
months what about you must have seen some of the craziness over the last
couple of years in blockchain is crypto yeah I you know sort of directed it
reminded me a little of the derivatives sort of meltdown where people didn’t
even know what they were investing in and and there was just you know
generally it was almost a greedy land grab feeling about everyone was gonna do
an ICO and no one really understood what they were and what they were buying if
they were buying into it so they I think they’re the model in theory makes sense
but there again the governance was a regulation no regulation at all it was
it was definitely not ready for primetime but I am all for new models
that sort of disrupt the status quo in the venture capital industry in the way
that currently fundraising Kapernick the VCS laughing on the side of the other
side of their face now that blockchain didn’t popped for a while it depends how
much money they put into blockchain companies doesn’t it yes yes some no as
I think I think it will come back a bit but I think like crowdfunding it’s going
to be probably a relatively small part of the of the overall startup landscape
and it’s going to work well for businesses which which actually need a
blockchain component to it right some permissionless trust and and where it
makes sense to have that kind of layer of infrastructure around it it’s that’s
going to be some but I don’t think it’s going to be hugely my prediction for
this next few years let’s let’s do a quick round kick audience survey right
who here is an entrepreneur tech entrepreneur put your hand up
hi hi don’t be so British okay good okay who here keep your hand up into
fundraising right if you’re an entrepreneur in your
fundraising right those guys over there put your hands down
okay pick a hand up here I don’t expect any one’s put their hand up put your
hand up you’re an investor oh okay right the guys it just put the hand up there
after the money okay now quickly put your hand up if you’re
if you’re there any women entrepreneurs in the room right now okay let’s let’s
do it golly let’s get there now are you raising money okay what do you what do
you think about this subject that we’ve been talking about what what interests
you about what Kim the same index it seems to me that
thanks very much Holly it seems to me that if you get this right Kim that you
will actually create a kind you’re sort of weaponize a lot of the information
about entrepreneurialism right now to the point where maybe in you will find
the needle in the haystack one of the problems that I know lots of
entrepreneurs are constantly trying to speak to investors can’t get through the
front door there’s a lot of industry bias from various might might be gender
it might be ethnicity by pulling a discrimination often sometimes do you
think that less this might solve some of that problem that’s that is what we’re
very hopeful yes the case because what we’re doing is reducing ingrained bias
that sort of the number one first ingrained bias and venture investing is
you have to know someone in the venture capital world that by definition reduces
the number of people who get funding yeah and then on top of that there are
all sorts of other things that happen once you enter into that funny process
so yeah well well certainly from my perspective I think that one of the
issues is always trying to get herds and understand understand entrepreneur and I
really do respect entrepreneurs when they when they try and reach out to
investors and to journalists and of course it means that I always know that
the entrepreneur is really keen when my Google Gmail inbox clicks up from one to
two to three I think that the entrepreneur really does want to talk to
me about something okay we are I don’t have any more time but thank you
very much for coming thanks everyone well I’m just gonna actually stay where
you are just one second because I’m just gonna take please might just be two
minutes two minutes because I want you to give us some food for thought and
let’s give them a huge round of applause all of our panel but I’m looking for
food for thoughts as we go into luncheon here here my job is to channel the
spirit of cog X across the morning so my question to you as investors is how do
you prepare the companies your funding to consider the moral and ethical
implications of what they are creating and that’s a big question right Kim but
maybe just just to get us started as we go into lunch because I wouldn’t be
doing my job if I didn’t join the dots across our projects they’re on wages I
know we’re on road bike but it’s alright but to me is it’s missing if it’s not
touched on but Kim just a how you approach that so the moral and ethical
implications of the products they’re that they’re developing those are the
kinds of questions that come up come up during the conversation that occurs
during this whole collective intelligence diligence session and
what’s great is that you can directly confront / challenge you know the
entrepreneur to say you know what what about fill in the blank ethically you
know and I have concerns about this and then others can joined that concern and
then to the entrepreneurs suddenly they realize okay this is an investment
concern that I’m gonna have to deal with change my model whatever it is so that
surfaced very early in the evaluation process and Nick and Ali it’s easy to
get the sense isn’t it that more entrepreneurs are trying to solve big
social problems with the ventures you’re creating I just wonder to what extent
that reflects in your pipeline in your investments is that a bit of a sort of
feel-good myth or what do you see in reality I think at least for us it’s
it’s the big focus actually so we invest in the full of impact companies changing
agriculture changing space changing our earth changing the veter and being
against basically you know climate changes so I think one big kind of
double-edged sword in a is if there’s no explained ability it
may tip either way so one part of it of looking ethically is that the order is
as early-stage venture capitalists we invest in people so I think it’s our job
to better understand if if those people have the moral kind of if they look at
the moral consequences of what you’re creating I don’t want to know if Mike
sees more of it as well but he wants your take on this because we’re aligned
to the global goals across cog X but what are you saying
so it’s increasingly important for us from an investment perspective so one of
our most recent investments is a clean makeup brand so producing lipsticks
initially without any of their harmful often cancer-promoting ingredients that
are in current makeups Nick’s the big self is going to be manufactured in a
soda panel sort of powered Factory in LA and so the whole brand is very
sustainable and that makes a lot of sense because it’s what consumers want
now and so that’s the advice to founders who you know that your first question
you know you should do this because hey it’s right and B it’s going to help you
build your business you’ll have more loyal customers and it will help also
with the exit fantastic final question Mike butcher you’ve been
asking the questions today what one thing you’re working on apart from
writing for TechCrunch are you proud of and you think needs a wider audience
well that I’m working on I’ve started in the nonprofit called tech vets get
ex-military veterans and service leavers into cybersecurity and technology if you
look up tech vets co or tech vet tech underscore vets on Twitter you’ll find
out more about that and check it out amazing so many good conversations in
the room thank you my for leading us through that and thank you to all of our
panel great thank you

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