April 23, 2017 - Los Angeles, CA: In a Huffington Post piece today, the co-founder of i(x) investments, Trevor Neilson, described how Medora Ventures and other partner companies have come together to support the development of an early-stage fund. Neilson wrote:
"Venture capital can solve real-world problems (like access to affordable healthy food), not just first-world problems (like wanting your juicer to be wifi-enabled). I don’t think we should just criticize Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs and mock VCs for investing in juicers. Instead, let’s get creative about how we invest in solutions to society’s toughest challenges.
We want to unleash the same forces of innovation and capital to actually solve nutrition and obesity challenges – not just talk about doing it, for PR purposes. That’s why our firm, i(x) investments, is developing a new platform for early-stage investments, i(x) ventures. We are working with social impact experts Medora Ventures, Womble Carlyle, and Ampathy, and a range of leading VC firms and early-stage investors, to find the very best businesses addressing not only nutrition but also sustainable agriculture, clean energy, water scarcity, and other areas where we see the greatest potential for social and environmental impact.
We can all agree that Silicon Valley technologies are, far too often, solving Silicon Valley’s problems. But what if we could collaborate with the world’s smartest venture capitalists and some of our greatest tech entrepreneurs to build companies that create long-term wealth and lasting impact?
So let’s go beyond complaining about what’s wrong, and let’s start building something better by creating new pathways for innovators to solve social and environmental problems.."
"Join us where the real opportunity is — where venture capital is least focused today, but most needed for tomorrow, and also where large total addressable markets mean greater opportunities for return over the long-term."
- Trevor Neilson, i(x) investments
The plans for i(x) investments were first debuted in a New York Times article on November 19, 2015, "Buffett’s Grandson Seeks Own Investment Route: Social Change." Author David Gelles explained the impetus for the new fund:
"Although his grandfather has traditionally acquired stalwart companies with timeless appeal, Mr. Buffett is taking a decidedly more forward-looking approach. The plan is for the new company, called i(x) Investments, to invest in early-stage and undervalued companies that are working on issues such as clean energy, sustainable agriculture and water scarcity...
Though such companies may sound futuristic, Mr. Neilson and Mr. Buffett believe there is a growing market for these products, and growing appetite to finance such endeavors. Investors, they say, are increasingly factoring ethics into their decision-making.
It was only in recent decades that some investors began avoiding certain morally dubious companies and sectors — hence the divestiture campaigns that focused on companies doing business in South Africa in its apartheid era and more recently have taken aim at fossil fuel producers and gun manufacturers.
Now, the i(x) founders say, investors want to put their capital to work in ways that will not simply avoid doing bad, but actually do some good in the world."
“I’m looking for that sweet spot. How do we improve society through these investments? How can we be creative with capital to address some of the greatest human needs?”
- Howard W. Buffett, i(x) investments
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