How Venture Capitalists Can Reshape Communities For the Better
Brad Feld in Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, Brad Feld, investor, entrepreneur, and author of The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, discusses the shift from a hierarchical system to something more democratic and more inclusive.
From the episode:
Andrew Keen: Is the summer of 2020 the moment when some of your wisdom about startup investing in startup communities can be used more broadly beyond technology?
Brad Feld: I think so many of the dynamics that we’re dealing with in this moment is really a series of complex systems that are unfolding in ways that are extremely unpredictable and where the interaction between different elements of them are both near-term, but also long-term. We’re not used to as humans having to deal with a pandemic like this and being isolated and all of the other stresses that we have, including economic stresses in the US. We have a racial equity crisis that’s emerged, which is not a new crisis. It’s been around for 50 years in the US. All these crises have been around for many years, and that’s part of the nature of complex systems.
A big part of my philosophy in general around entrepreneurship in startup communities specifically is that they are complex systems and that instead of trying to manage them top-down and control them, which is basically impossible to do with a complex system, you impact them through the various things that you do over a long period of time and then the interactive effects of all those activities. So I’d like to think that the philosophy is broadly applicable.
Brad Feld has been an early-stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Prior to cofounding Foundry Group—a Boulder, Colorado-based early-stage venture capital fund that invests in information technology companies all over the United States—he cofounded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Feld is also a cofounder of TechStars and has been active with several nonprofit organizations. He is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship.