Illustration by Julia Green

Zebras Build the Future

Zebras Unite partners with Institute for the Future

For the last two years we’ve asked why startup culture was so broken for so many. Last November, hundreds of founders and funders eager for change gathered at DazzleCon, our inaugural conference. Attendees told us the solution is not to fix this broken system with incremental progress and disingenuous half measures. No more band-aids. We need to intentionally build the equitable, inclusive, collaborative, sane future we wish to see. This alternative model will be designed to support entrepreneurs solving real-world problems that improve society.

Now is the time for these solutions. There isn’t a moment to waste.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce a partnership with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to do this urgent and necessary work.

Both the Zebra Movement and IFTF believe two main factors drive economic inequality:

1) The addiction to short-term thinking. Every day, a new, isolated, one-off project is announced to address systemic challenges. These efforts must work in concert with one another and with the entrepreneurs and communities they purport to serve. Competition creates winners and losers. It does not advance shared prosperity and freedom. Collaboration and co-creation does. Zebras Unite has become a home for the investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and legal experts who share resources toward making new models that benefit our communities and democracy itself.

2) A lack of access and transparency around the factors that lead to wealth creation. We must give more people the opportunities and tools and power-literacy to build assets that ensure economic security. Entrepreneurship is one of the most promising paths to mobility, and yet the resources to support existing and future entrepreneurs — from funding to training to public policy decisions — are controlled by a handful of decision makers. With greater visibility into these systems, how can we ask better questions to understand who benefits and who is left out? How can we create new corporate structures and finance systems to build a more accessible future? The problem is not a scarcity of entrepreneurs but rather a lack of innovations that assure more distributed access to information and resources.

In the coming years, in partnership with IFTF, Zebras Unite plans to create a support system to advance long-term solutions and more distributed access. We will:

  • Support Zebra Entrepreneurs: We now have 20 chapters in cities around the world with more starting every week. From Detroit to Oslo, these founders are creating grassroots networks to share resources, and learn best practices from one another.
  • Innovate Finance Models and Legal Structures: In collaboration with leading investors, foundations, policy makers, and legal experts, these teams will research barriers and work directly with entrepreneurs to understand their needs and challenges and design new systems that can better serve their needs.

This exciting future requires support. You can be a part of making it happen. Join leading foundations like Knight, Libra, Rockefeller and MacArthur; companies like Buffer; and investors like Indie.VC and Brad Feld to grow this movement.

Our goal is modest: to raise $200K to support our mission. We are already halfway there.

Your contribution propels this vision closer to reality. Make your tax-deductible donation to this better future, today.

Thank you for caring, for taking action, and for supporting this exciting endeavor that’s already changing the landscape.

(PS: Interested in working with Team Zebra to help grow the organization and the movement? We’ll be hiring a managing director in the coming months. Tell us more about yourself!)