GCV launches in Philly, still looking for companies - Technical.ly Philly

Business

Apr. 19, 2010 1:00 pm

GCV launches in Philly, still looking for companies

After stopping in Austin, Texas and the 67th Ward, GoodCompany Ventures has finally come home. Last week, like they did in New York City, the socially-minded incubator gathered some of the sharpest local minds in venture capital to discuss the future of “social entrepreneurship

From Left: Jacob Gray, Len Lodish, Gil Beyada, Nate Lentz, Tom Balderson, Josh Kopelman

After stopping in Austin, Texas and the 67th Ward, GoodCompany Ventures has finally come home.

Last week, like they did in New York City, the socially-minded incubator gathered some of the sharpest local minds in venture capital to discuss the future of “social entrepreneurship” and to drum up attention for the incubator’s 2010 class, now accepting members until April 28.

Packed into the Blank Rome Conference Center, just off of Logan Square, journalists, students, investors, CEOs and entrepreneurs listened closely as the whirlwind presentations culminated into panel debate.

The result was an analysis of the local venture capital community and a spirited discussion about the merits of “social” investing.

After a presentation of portfolio companies Couchange, CalendarFly, Blox, Public Stuff as well as a quick talk by Blake Jannelle of Missioneurs the panel took center stage. Jacob Gray of Murex Investments moderated a discussion between Wharton’s Len Lodish, Genacast Ventures’ Gil Beyda, Nate Lentz of Osage Ventures, Tom Balderson of Investors Circle Philly and Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital.

The room was divided on the value of creating companies strictly for social good, as venture capitalists are traditionally viewed as strictly interested in return on investment, something GoodCompany Founder Garrett Melby often illustrates with a picture of a businessman lighting a cigar with a 20 dollar bill.

“This is no longer what venture capital is,” he said.

Most of the panelists, however generally agreed that a successful company is the one that best benefits society.

“Whatever happened to the notion of creating jobs as being good for society,” Genacast’s Bayada asked.

Advertisement

As organizations like GoodCompany, Murex Investments and Missioneurs sprout up in the city, part of the gorwing pains of the new social investment sector is finding a role within the larger investment ecosystem.

“Twitter didn’t raise money to change the world, but there they are,” Kopelman said.

STILL SEEKING COMPANIES

GCV is still seeking more applications by its April 28th deadline, even going as far as to waive the application fee to help speed up the process and prevent its office from being inundated with phone calls.

-30-

Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

  • One big point that I thought was largely absent from the panel discussion was how important it is that this “social entrepreneurship” label actually exists, and is being actively discussed/debated at THIS particular juncture in human history precisely because the challenges we face as a planet (climate change-related extinction, among others) are so pressing that if businesses were to continue operating in a status quo “privatize profit, socialize cost” model of capitalism, where social benefits are a nice-to-have, coincident “by-product” of doing business, then the profits that we find so seductive and admittedly necessary, won’t mean a thing if the sustainability of life on our planet is lost. Social entrepreneurialism helps create a necessary “focal point” that will help steer capitalism in a more sustainable direction while changing the mindset of new/young entrepreneurs from that of “make lots of profit, then try to do some good” to “do lots of good and makes lots of profit”. It’s a different way of thinking, and it’s necessary given the consequences. “Social Entrepreneurialism” as an idea is vital for creating and spreading this necessary heightened awareness. And it is a blessing that Good Company Ventures, right here in Philadelphia, has the foresight and conviction to lead this enlightened mission.

Advertisement

Sign-up for regular updates from Technical.ly

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!