Last week we held our seventh annual Collaborative Fund summit in San Francisco. We gather together our team, several LPs, business partners and friends to talk about where we’ve been and where we’re going as a firm. Eighty five people came this year, and it was truly special.
Collaborative Fund is itself a startup. But we’ve grown our team from four people to nine in the last two years, and operate out of both coasts. We have a new office in New York. Our team culture is the strongest it’s ever been. We have our work cut out for us and our job will never be easy. But gathering together – in one room – shined a spotlight on how much progress we’ve made and the opportunity we have in front of us.
This was a private event, which made it both inspiringly frank and a day where we can’t share every detail. But a few highlights stick out.
Four founders from our portfolio presented. Every one of them impressed us.
Dean Travers from Luminopia is building a virtual reality headset to treat lazy eye in children, changing how doctors treat the disorder from an embarrassing eyepatch to something kids love using.
Kathy Hannun from Dandelion has made residential geothermal heating and cooling systems so efficient they’re now economically competitive with traditional HVAC systems.
Alec Lee from Ava Winery is making synthetic wine without grapes. I’m telling you, it’s good wine.
Shivani Siroya of Tala is bringing financial opportunity to literally millions of people across the world by building proprietary credit scores off their mobile phone data.
Being a founder chasing a bold idea is one of the hardest jobs in the world. We’re continually impressed with the passion these entrepreneurs bring to the table.
Next we sat down with three founders for fireside chats.
First up was Gwyneth Paltrow, founder and CEO of Goop.
Gwyneth talked about how she built Goop, the challenges she’s faced creating a consumer brand, and how consumer tastes have evolved. From a homespun newsletter 10 years ago, Goop now has a retail store and a physical magazine. When Morgan asked if she expected Goop to become as large as it is today when she started it 10 years ago, she said, “I always envisioned it being bigger.”
Next was Adam D’Angelo, founder and CEO of Quora.
Adam told the story of building Quora’s question and answer platform in its early days, breaking the chicken-and-egg problem all two-sided marketplaces face. Adam is the former chief technology office of Facebook and has incredible insight on how to scale social platforms while maintaining quality. Quora has over 200 million monthly users and the site constantly blows us away.
Airbnb founder and CEO Brian Chesky wrapped up the day.
A passion of Brian’s is using time horizon as a competitive advantage, which he wrote about recently. “If you’re trying to win in the next year, and I’m trying to win in the next five years, we both might win. But I’m ultimately going to win,” Brian said. He’s one of the most well-spoken founders I’ve ever heard.
After seven years, these events begin to feel like family gatherings. We’re one small notch in an ecosystem that requires countless people from different fields working hard to move the world forward. Thanks to everyone for your support.