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Change the world.
In theory, there are many paths if your ambition is to change the world.
You can join an NGO and do non-profit work, you can join the government and be at the helm when a crisis strikes.
But I believe entrepreneurship is where you have the highest probability to make a real dent. Startup founders are the best at solving problems and changing people’s lives for the better. Indeed, disillusion with the government is the reason why I left that sphere 10 years ago and joined the tech world, first as a founder and then as an investor. Following the financial crisis, technology appeared to me as the most powerful lever to make a difference.
Why are entrepreneurs the ones changing the world?
The Entrepreneurial Age has one key consequence: we can now solve problems that were long without a solution. Think about telemedicine. In many countries, it’s harder to access proper healthcare if you’re far away from the big cities. Many people are resigned to this state of things, especially in government. But not entrepreneurs. They realize that with the proper tools and architecture, you can now diagnose and even cure people at a distance.
It doesn’t mean that entrepreneurship is easy. Founders in the healthcare space have to deal with sensitive issues related to privacy, for instance. They have to make their way into hostile territory, facing incumbent companies, healthcare professionals, regulators, everyone with an interest in preserving the status quo. But here’s the beauty of it:
Technology makes it possible to seal an alliance with end users and to turn them into a powerful network —the most valuable asset you can dream of in today’s world.
The promise of exponential returns makes it possible to raise capital and to allocate it to fighting the resistance with a well-designed product and a sound lobbying strategy.
Enough with social entrepreneurship.
Sadly too many people still make a distinction between founding a company, which they equate with the pursuit of greed, and solving problems that matter, which they say can only happen in the context of social or ‘tech for good’ entrepreneurship. Don’t let those people fool you:
Good founders are the ones who pursue wealth AND making a difference, simultaneously. If you’re only interested in wealth, let me tell you: founding a startup is too hard and you’ll fail. There are shorter paths to getting rich (just join the financial services industry).
If, on the other hand, you wouldn’t mind getting rich while changing the world, you’re in that sweet spot: you have the long-term motivation of pursuing a noble cause, but your interest in wealth will make you raise your standards—in terms of ambition, efficiency, impact and capital.
It’s not anti-social to solve real problems at scale using capitalism if that is the best approach to do so. Likewise, it’s not particularly social to decide to stay small by principle when you could insert more capital into your production process, generate those increasing returns to scale, and thus solve the problem for more people.
The Family works with founders with all kinds of motivations.
All those who succeed at scale, however, have realized that technology brings about solutions to many lingering problems, and that a tech startup is the most effective agent of change in today’s world.
To finish 2020 on a high note, one Director from The Family sends you a startup lesson each day all the way through Xmas!
The applications for The Family's next remote batch starting in January are open now. You're welcome to apply to our intense 6-week program, made for entrepreneurs willing to grow their startup in the best conditions: getting smart advice, accessing top operators and fundraising with the best investors.