Odin River is a philosophy that synthesizes a deep optimism about the future with the pragmatism of day-to-day life.
Simply put: Progress is inevitable, but Cycles matter.
The philosophy is a framework for understanding many things including why companies, industries, and markets rise and fall.
Implicitly, I’ve followed this philosophy throughout my career, investing in, building and advising companies across industries and through cycles.
Progress means that themes of Equality, Justice and Wellness will emerge in the long-run and that every business must be mission driven and have a values-based culture to succeed in the inevitably transparent future.
Of course, the future isn’t here yet. We see legacy ways of being everyday. Equality clearly has not arrived. Injustice persists and we haven’t achieved Wellness as individuals or for the earth…yet.
Having spent 2015 meeting extraordinary people while building Odin River, I am even more optimistic — people are taking mission driven approaches to building businesses along themes of Equality, Justice and Wellness everyday.
Unsurprisingly, investors are waking up to this reality: aligning Purpose and Profit isn’t only possible, it is necessary to win in the future. Impact investing and good investing are the exact same thing over a long time-frame.
It is an exciting time to be alive and building a new investment firm.
That said, launching this firm has been hard. All startups are.
As Buffett noted, there are 3 kinds of businesses: Innovators, Imitators and Idiots. At the beginning, I was at best an Imitator.
My plan was to launch a traditional “hedge fund” to express the philosophy, which meant jamming into traditional style boxes in order to get traditional funding.
Yet the closer I got to starting a firm like that, the more a fire burned in my gut that told me to stop. For so many reasons it just felt wrong.
Changing directions was embarrassing and a hard decision, but I really had no other choice.
I just couldn’t bring myself to build yet another traditional “hedge fund”.
Since the summer, I’ve been spending almost all my time with mission driven entrepreneurs who are building businesses along themes of Equality, Justice and Wellness with a particular focus on helping diverse teams.
This seemed like the only way to build an investment firm that is mission driven from the foundational moments of the firm.
This social hack also allowed me to live my values everyday.
Starting with Generosity of heart and spirit, following with vulnerable Authenticity…these and the other values of Respect, Humility, Wisdom and Passion guide our decision-making everyday.
I believe George Bailey had it right in It’s A Wonderful Life.
The Community is everything and financial institutions should Care deeply about their neighbors. Every single one of them.
So that’s why we've been assembling a Community in launching Odin River. This Community is the foundation that has the heart and care built into it that allows us to embark on building something different.
I’m blessed and humbled by the extraordinarily talented people around Odin River who believe like we do that Progress is inevitable and that mission driven businesses are the way we will reach that future state.
So What is Odin River?
We’re building a financial institution for the future. That means we are transparent and accessible. We use modern technology to supplement the extraordinary values-aligned people we work with everyday.
Our mission is simple: We Care for Wealth.
Wealth matters because money represents the time and energy you spend away from who you love — that time and energy is your most precious resource.
We believe money can be an instrument of love, and that is why we lead with heart in all that we do.
Money also must be fiercely protected and preserved as Cycles exist and have a tendency to destroy value if you aren’t careful. That is why we are taking an institutional approach.
We believe that the same quality and care available to the biggest and most sophisticated institutions and family offices should be accessible to all, so we are building an institution to do just that.
Many of the things we will do (like invest and manage money) will look similar to other institutions.
So will many of the services we provide (like peace of mind for retirement and customized approaches to investment management).
We believe that it is possible to build an institution that utilizes technology from the beginning to scale the care that everyone deserves when it comes to their money.
The only way to do that is to build from a pure foundation, leading with heart.
2016 is going to be a very difficult year for the financial markets and of course for everyone stomaching the noise of the old media and political environment.
However, if we look out on the horizon, or even around us everyday, we can see the seeds of a better tomorrow being sown.
Transparency is already here. Miniaturization is everywhere. Cloud computing and globalization are impacting every industry. Software has eaten the world and mobility is empowering billions of people every day.
Odin River will do all that we can to reach a better tomorrow by scaling our impact through the way we deploy the capital we are entrusted with.
We will continue to Accelerate Progress towards Equality, Justice and Wellness by investing in and supporting mission driven entrepreneurs.
And we will seek to protect, preserve and care for the wealth of those in our Community with the heart that they deserve.
We look forward to sharing more over time and thank you as always for your support. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can help in any way.