At Maveron, our north star is to find extraordinary entrepreneurs who use their power for good — who want to build enduring companies that positively change society. We seek out founders and team members who are analytical and empathetic. This balance, we believe, is changing the world.
We live in a time where many are eager to villainize the entrepreneurs who built Silicon Valley, and in many cases, rightly so. The tragic flaw of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs and investors is the worship of technology for technology’s sake. Building a great product or a unicorn tech company isn’t good enough in our opinion. We aim to support entrepreneurs who strive to create a greater good.
eBay was our first investment after Maveron was founded in 1998. eBay created a marketplace that opened up a new form of commerce and connection — but it also allowed hatred to be spread in ways previously unknown. On the Board of eBay, our co-founder, Howard Schultz, was the loudest voice encouraging the company to remove Nazi-related paraphernalia from the marketplace.
In the over 20 years since, we continue to be driven by our values and make investment decisions accordingly. It’s one of the main reasons we backed a visionary first-time founder, Michael Preysman, seven years ago when he started Everlane. It was a big part of our draw to Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger when we first met them as co-CEOs of a pre-launch shoe company called Allbirds. It struck us in meeting Afton Vechery and Carly Leahy, who are building a values-driven and visionary company with Modern Fertility.
Today, we are at a crossroads as a venture ecosystem — and need to take seriously the responsibility we bear when backing companies that could become more powerful than many nation-states. We can assume that jobs will be gained and lost, human behaviors will change and the world will be altered irreversibly. We have an obligation to bring values into our decision making and actions, as investors and board members.
We sat down as a team earlier this year and put down on paper the values we hold dear. We are advocating a different kind of capitalism — where economic profit isn’t the end all. A compassionate capitalism, which is values based, and where companies can both do well and do good.
We called in Michael Preysman who had just gone through a similar process with Everlane, we called a half dozen founders we work with, we asked for reflections — individual and communal — from our team. In the end, we crystallized what we want to be on our best days and what we strongly believe will make our industry and the world a better place.
We are excited to share our values with you today. Look for more stories about how we live our values over the coming months and beyond.
It’s no accident that comic book superheroes have unique stories. Something formative happened that gave them a unique perspective and drive to change the world. Being different is precisely what generates their strength. We take pride in, and generate power from, being non-normal. We believe the only way to inspire change is to eschew the status quo and think differently.
‘Ships over ‘actions.
Our work is about relationships, not transactions. We invest in people, we don’t do deals. Relationships are at the heart of everything we do. They are our product. And, creating a mutual commitment complete with transparency, honesty, and alignment is our springboard for doing great things together.
Profit + Purpose
We place equal weight on both the opportunity and the responsibility to make change in the world. The decisions we make today must always take into consideration the impact they will make tomorrow. It’s no small effort, but progress is worth every bit of time and energy it takes. As Steve Jobs challenged all of us, make a dent in the universe.
Win the right way.
As Mark Twain said, “Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” Let’s be astonishing in our capacity for doing the right thing, especially when it’s hard. After all, there is zero downside, and everything to gain.