Our fund is designed to create long-term relationships based on a shared desire to promote good. Relationships take time to develop, and more time to sustain. In creating the fund, we took a realistic assessment of our personal bandwidth over the next two years, and capitalized the fund accordingly. We are not raising money, and would require a fair amount of persuasion before we would agree to take yours. We do not want to create more relationships than we can reasonably sustain.
Presumed Abundance takes the best parts of capitalism and marries them to the best parts of philanthropy. From a capitalist point of view, this model is an economic growth engine. When each successful business invests in future businesses, it creates the possibility of exponential returns. From a philanthropic point of view, this is a "Pay It Forward" fund.
We know it when we see it. Look to the works being done through our role models (Acumen Fund, Calvert Foundation, Echoing Green, and Endeavor) and you'll have a good idea as to which ideas excite us.
No. Although we recognize the valuable work being done by non-profit groups, they do not fit our model. Without profitability, they have no capital to invest forward. Our model presumes a level of financial success that will allow each entrepreneur to in turn become the next investor.
We know that start-up companies have many needs, and seek angels who bring more than money to the table. In particular, we know that many start-ups are looking for mentors. In our view, mentoring is like matchmaking. People need to find their "fit." One person's perfect mentor is another person's nightmare. If we think we can be helpful (or, more likely, if we know someone else who can be), we'll offer advice and make introductions. Between us, we have an extensive Rolodex. We have access to lawyers and legal advice, but not to people who will draft your documents for free. We know other angels and VCs and will make introductions when appropriate. That said, if your needs include a lot of hand-holding to get your business running, we're probably not the right people for you.
What we offer, primarily, is capital under what we believe are very attractive terms. That, and a chance for a future partnership with us, doing one of the things we love most: investing in people.
Rafe graduated with a Masters from Stanford, and Kim attended college for 12 minutes. We are part of a growing consensus that believes the educational system in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is broken. We also believe that, in rare circumstances, formal education can sometimes be a hindrance rather than an advantage.
We realize that we tend to look more favorably upon a recommendation that comes from a friend, whether it be for a place to eat, a book to read, or an investment to make. At the same time, we're wary of group-think. We actively encourage applications from people who live far outside our circles, who would have no means to contact us if not for the Apply button.
We have worked hard to build in as much safety for the entrepreneur as possible. When consulting with our lawyer, we asked, "If your kid were starting a company, would you let her sign our contracts?" We revised our documents until the answer was an unequivocal "Yes."
If you have additional questions, send them to us.