Entrepreneurs are often lauded as “disruptors” in their fields. But what about funders? Early stage venture capital firm Obvious Ventures is betting on a way of investing that disrupts the process at its core. The Silicon Valley-based firm makes investments in what it calls “world positive” companies, or “startups that create new solutions to big world problems in a profitable and scalable way.”
The Obvious team knows a little something about disruption. Co-founder Ev Williams is best known for cofounding Twitter and later Medium, while James Joaquin, another cofounder, helped create innovative ventures that were sold to Apple, AOL and Kodak.
Obvious Ventures invests in three main focus areas: sustainable systems, people power, and healthy living. In a world of quick profits, it takes a decidedly long-term view when choosing companies to support—to date, it has invested in about 45 portfolio companies via two funds totaling $300 million.
“Entire industries are being re-imagined,” says Andrew Beebe, managing director at Obvious Ventures and a successful entrepreneur in the renewable energy space. “We think we can outperform as a venture fund because of our focus on world positive companies.”
Obvious is also thoughtful about ensuring that its companies remain true to their mission. To that end, it pioneered the “World Positive Term Sheet,” an addition to the standard deal agreement that codifies the core values of a company. The intention is to make sure investors and founders are aligned on key values that will determine how the company is managed in the years to come. […]
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