Backing the Shared Future

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Here we are! Collaborative is officially open for business.

We are an investment fund focused on supporting and investing in the shared future. The fund centers around two macro themes which I think will be driving business innovation in the coming years: the growth of the creative class and the concept of collaborative consumption.

Specifically, we will focus on the increasing importance of creativity and values (like happiness or transparency) and how that relates to which businesses consumers choose to buy from; as well as the shift from an ownership based economy to an access or sharing based economy. 

These two forces present a significant opportunity for new technologies, products, and services to transform how we do business and the way we live our lives.

Below are some thoughts, ideas, people and experiences which have helped shape Collaborative’s investment strategy.

First – Values matter. The world is changing.

It is harder to get into Teach for America than it is most top law schools

Zipcar just filed to go public with a fleet of more than 8,000 vehicles

AT&T prominently featured TOMS Shoes and the power of giving in national advertising

Netflix is crowd-sourcing one of their most strategic assets

Zappos is trying to hire people who are a little weird

Something is happening. And as President of GOOD I was able to see first hand what I believe is a future consumption trend. Consumers are increasingly making decisions based on culture and values. And businesses that recognize this trend are winning.

 This is not about being altruistic or philanthropic. This is about living a better life. Wearing TOMS Shoes is as much a statement of “status” as it is comfort, price or philanthropy. The things you wear, the places you go, the email address you use, and what you drive are all reflections of your values.

Second – Creativity is paramount.

Richard Florida is onto something. The creative class will be the leading force of growth in the economy for the next decade. Their influence and stamp of approval has and will continue to be one of the leading factors of success for many products and or services.

In Cities and the Creative Class, Florida devotes several chapters to discussion of the three ‘T’s”: Talent (a highly talented/educated/skilled population), Tolerance (a diverse community, which has a ‘live and let live’ ethos), and Technology (the technological infrastructure necessary to fuel an entrepreneurial culture). 

Understanding the behavior and likes (and dislikes) of the demographic driving this trend will be critical to figuring out which products and services will be successful in the future economy. Arguably it is this group that has led to the rapid ascension of such products and services such as: the iPhone, Twitter, YouTube, Honest Tea, Etsy and Instagram, to name a few.

In conclusion, there are some incredible people and organizations already investing in these trends, including: Scott Heiferman, Mitch Kapor, Tim O’Reilly, Steve Case, Ashoka, and Echoing Green, among others. Collaborative is excited to be a part of this ecosystem and add value.

—Craig


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