Investing is my way to see the future. I invest in both for-profit and non-profit organizations, so you’ll see them mixed together in my portfolio below. The reasons I provide for investing are kinda post-hoc rationalizations. Honestly, my criterion for investing is primarily whether I believe the leader is capable of greatness. My favorite areas to invest in are education, climate, housing, developer tools, and tools for thought.
If I would be a good investor for you, please send an email to [email protected] with the following: a description of a teacher who changed your life and information about your endeavor.
VotingWorks is building next-generation, low-cost voting systems. I invested because we need inexpensive voting machines and auditing systems that the public can trust.
Replit is building a programming environment in the browser. I invested because it’s incredibly important to make programming more accessible to everyone.
Shyft is building hardware and software that allow buildings to seamlessly switch between grid and non-grid energy sources. I invested because this could enable developing countries to leapfrog past old grid technologies.
ToMI is building hardware and software that help teachers teach with digital tools even when they don’t have an internet connection. I invested because they are bringing digital technology to classrooms that have never had it before.
Vanta is building software to automate security on the Internet. I invested because it’s hard to build secure software and it can’t be done without significant automated systems to make sure you’re doing it right.
Vercel is building a cloud-hosting platform for ultra-fast websites. I invested because they are removing a huge amount of complexity from building performant and secure websites.
Backer is building software that makes it simple to create college savings accounts. I invested because they are making it easier for everyone, not just rich people, to save for college.
BusRight is building a modern platform for intelligent school bus routing and tracking. I invested because school buses are a huge public transportation system that could be run much more effectively.
The SCA transformed my life when I was in high school. It taught me about service to a community and country, and about building lifelong bonds through hard work. I invested (and joined the board) because I wanted to give back to an organization that gave me so much.
California is a neat place, but its anti-development housing policies push way too many people into housing instability and homelessness. Teachers can’t afford to live where they teach. I invested (and joined the board) because California YIMBY is leading the charge to create an abundant supply of housing for everyone.
The Hidden Genius Project trains black male youth in technology and leadership skills. I invested because creating young leaders can have unpredictable and massive-scale impact down the line.
PrismsVR is building a virtual reality experience that helps math students develop their spatial reasoning. I invested because students need radical new ways to develop their math understanding and intuition.
Synthesis is building multiplayer learning games that get students to discuss complex strategies and work in teams. I invested because I love games that prompt deep thought and discussion.
Dynamicland is building a more friendly and communal computing environment from the ground up. I invested because new models of computing, outside the bounds of shrink-wrapped consumer software, are desperately needed.
Charm Industrial is capturing CO2 from the atmosphere, converting it to bio-oil, and pumping it underground. I invested because they are moving faster than anyone in building large-scale carbon removal technology.
The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley does the most rigorous research into the causes of and solutions to California's housing crisis. I invested because we will make much better housing policy decisions if they're backed by good research.
Kosmik is building a digital canvas that helps you think spatially. I invested because I want to see spatial reasoning become a core part of everyday computing.
Sonic Sphere is building spherical concert halls with mind-blowing many-channel audio. I invested because I want real-life and social computing to be better than the metaverse.