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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Choosing metrics aligned with mission and values can drive financial returns while creating a positive impact on society.
  2. Recognizing the potential for success in individuals who have faced challenges and overcome obstacles can lead to identifying overlooked talent and investment opportunities, defying conventional expectations.
  3. By investing in underserved communities and fostering an inclusive culture, companies can positively impact the local economy and achieve success, while disregarding culture can lead to negative consequences. Despite challenges, investing in companies with potential to address equity gaps can be worthwhile.
  4. Upholding integrity and aligning with personal values is crucial, even when faced with opposition and controversy. The Kapors' actions demonstrate the importance of staying committed to doing the right thing.
  5. Prioritizing diversity, setting clear goals, addressing cultural corrosion, and focusing on human-centered metrics are essential for building a successful and inclusive startup culture.
  6. Kapor Capital's commitment to diversity, as showcased in their Impact Report, highlights the importance of metrics in driving meaningful change and inspiring other businesses to improve their team makeup and culture.
  7. Investing in impact and diversity can lead to strong financial returns, and Kapor Capital is dedicated to challenging the perception that these factors are detrimental to profitability.

📝 Podcast Summary

How Choosing Metrics Can Shape Organizational Culture

Choosing metrics that align with your mission and values can shape your organization's culture. In the case of Kapor Capital, their commitment to funding startups with a social impact mission led them to invest in Pigeonly, a company that helps incarcerated individuals connect with their families. The founders of Pigeonly had a strong understanding of the sector, a well-thought-out plan, and had overcome significant obstacles, which aligned with Kapor Capital's metric of 'distance traveled'. This metric, which takes into account where a founder started from, proved to be a better predictor of success than traditional metrics like alma mater. Choosing meaningful metrics can not only drive financial returns but also create a positive impact on society.

Leveling the Playing Field: The Power of 'Distance Traveled' in Investment Strategy

The staggered starting line in a racetrack counteracts the mathematical inequality caused by the curves, giving equal opportunities to all runners. Mitch and Freada's investment strategy at Kapor Capital applies a similar concept by considering a founder's 'Distance Traveled' as an unconventional yardstick for success. They recognize that individuals who have faced challenges and overcome obstacles have the potential to excel. This insight has led to the identification of overlooked talent and opportunities, resulting in successful investments in companies like BlocPower, ClassDojo, Aclima, and Promise. The investment story of Bitwise Industries, founded by Irma and Jake, further demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach. Bitwise focuses on providing tech solutions and training for underrepresented individuals, while also revitalizing underestimated cities like Fresno. This combination of uplifting communities, empowering individuals, and achieving profitability defies conventional expectations.

Investing in Underserved Communities and Building Inclusive Companies for Economic Growth and Success

Investing in underserved communities and providing jobs and training can boost the local economy and lead to improved outcomes for all. Bitwise's success in transforming cities like Fresno and Bakersfield is evidence of this. The culture of inclusiveness and belonging at Bitwise influenced the decision of investors like Mitch Kapor and Dr. Freada Kapor Klein. Building human-centered companies with inclusivity at the heart can lead to success. However, the opposite approach to culture, as seen in the case of Uber, can result in implosion and negative impacts. Despite the challenges, investing in companies like Uber that have the potential to address equity gaps can still be worthwhile.

Promoting Positive Change and Integrity in Portfolio Companies: The Kapors' Journey with Uber

The founders of Kapor Capital, Mitch and Freada, are dedicated to promoting positive change and ethical behavior in their portfolio companies. However, as Uber scaled, it became increasingly combative and toxic, straying from the principles Mitch and Freada believed in. Susan Fowler's blog post about sexual harassment at Uber prompted the Kapors to take action and publicly call out Uber's behavior. This move was met with controversy, as some venture capitalists tried to poach Kapor Capital investments. Despite this, the Kapors remained committed to doing the right thing and standing up for their principles. Their actions highlight the importance of integrity and aligning with one's values, even in the face of opposition.

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion for Long-Term Success in Startups

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace from the start is crucial for long-term success. Startups face challenges in competing with bigger companies for engineering talent, and a clear mission and the Founder's Commitment can set them apart. The commitment, set by the founders themselves, helps establish specific diversity goals and provides a strategy to achieve them. It is important to address cultural corrosion proactively and measure for it in order to create a positive company culture. Focusing only on short-term shareholder gain can lead to major problems in the future. Kapor Capital emphasizes the importance of human-centered metrics and uplifting benchmarks for success, rather than solely focusing on financial goals.

Kapor Capital's Social Impact and Financial Success

The 2019 Kapor Capital Impact Report demonstrated the success of their social impact criteria and showcased their financial performance. It revealed that they were a top quartile venture fund with a 3X TVPI and a 29% IRR. The report emphasized their ability to achieve these results by building a diverse founder base, with 59% of their founders being underrepresented and women. This report sparked conversations in the business community and showcased the importance of metrics in persuading others. Kapor Capital's commitment to their benchmarks and consequences for not meeting them helped companies change their team makeup and culture for the better. Metrics matter and can drive meaningful change in the industry.

Kapor Capital's Success in Impact Investing and Diversity Challenges Traditional Investment Beliefs

Kapor Capital's success in achieving top quartile financial returns compared to similar firms, including non-social impact firms, has garnered attention and support from influential voices in Wall Street. The firm's reports have provided data that shows investing in impact and diversity is not concessionary but can yield strong financial results. Their succession plan has ensured that the firm's mission and values will be upheld by capable leaders who continue to support diverse and mission-oriented founders. Kapor Capital aims to push the boundaries of human-centered investing with their substantial funds, while also working to change the perception in the larger investing ecosystem that impact and diversity are detrimental to financial returns. Making money ethically is just as important as what is done with it.