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Jake Chapman_E3: Utopia without the Brain Drain [4/13/2020]

Jake Chapman: General Partner at Alpha Bridge Ventures in the Bay Area


Note: References with links are listed at the end of the show notes.


0:30 Portfolio examples Lambda School, The Assembly, Quip, Alpha Foods, and Imperfect Foods

SECTION1: Utopia (and *Dystopia*)

1:00 Shares interest in utopia from Science Fiction (via THE LOTTERY [book ref below])

2:00 Talks about his entry into venture; leading from a sector agnostic standpoint to a more impactful approach.

4:00 Discussion surrounding meritocracy in a Sci-Fi context. Radical Abundance is discussed, in the context of Star Trek, and what a modern explorer might look like.

4:50 Uses metaphor of Radical Abundance in regards to exploration in Science, Poetry, and Artists, where everyone gets to be an explorer.

5:00 Describes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Self Actualization in practicing venture investing, to help shape the future.

7:30 Explains his background in law, and how Matlock (t.v. legal show) helped him in discovering an inquisitive approach to analyzing deals. The Drapers is discussed as a family of investors who are inspired intergenerationally.

8:00 Shares investigatory sense of justice in the context of idealism and utopia. Shares experience as a criminal defense lawyer, and advocates for criminal justice reform. Also shares the culture of law, and conflicts of politics.

10:00 Shares experience transitioning from law into fund formation work. Explains how lawyers can help in venture work.

11:25 Issue spotting and systems thinking can help create arguments from back patterns.

12:30 Discusses red flags in his work, and how to categorize appropriately.

14:00 Gives insights about how not to take pitches and feedback personally.

16:00 Shares similarities of psychologies of being a VC pitching or Founder pitching.

17:00 Kauffman Fellows and Techstars Venture Deals Course mentioned; marrying VCs for a long-term engagement. Jake shares the personal connection value, and do the VCs/Founders like each other. Uses “are we thinking about each other in our spare time”.

19:15 Shares optimism for venture; zooms out to discuss economic growth moving forward. Shares optimism for an increasing demand in talent, as population decreases driven by development investment — fertility rates dropping based on one-belt-one-road investment in lower demographically served areas.

23:00 Discusses immigration as a mitigation effort against brain drain. Shares story of brain drain post World War II. “In a world where population is shrinking, humans become the most valuable resource. And we should be encouraging the best and the brightest from around the world, to come to the US”. Encourages viewing humans as our most valuable resource the “oil of the future”.

SECTION2: Founder Mental Wellness

25:45 Professor Michael Freeman at UC San Francisco doing research on Founder Mental Health (see report in show notes below). Recommends Noam Wasserman’s THE FOUNDERS DILEMMA book.

26:00 Introduces Project Atlas and how his fund looks at human centric threats as significant post Seed and into Series A. Shares insights about retention, Founder burnout, and supporting founders in transition.

28:00 Explains how his fund supports Founders on an interpersonal level, and how it should be a requirement for VCs to care for their Founders.

30:00 Shares two things investors can do when they are in their lowest-lows: best is to give them a silver bullet solution (cut the check), but 99/100 times, it’s not that simple.

31:00 Share stories of how to help in unique circumstances.

33:00 Talk about “pitching friendlies”, and how to protect relationships through long engagements with VCs. Discusses VC fear of passing on a deals which later make it big.

35:00 Shares ideas about the Servant Leader and taking care of themselves. Suggests Founders budget their time for vacations, mental health coaching/therapy. Suggests that self-care has to be put on the schedule, and if you don’t your stealing value from yourself. Discusses Founder therapy as a help to heal relationships within a leadership team.

SECTION3: Adaptive Impacts

37:00 Talks about portfolio company Natilus– blended wing body design, autonomous navigation, and how the design is optimal for cargo airfreight.

39:00 Discusses how Adaptive Impact was woven into the pitch — where the core value proposition remained (cost efficiency), but the additional impact from a CO2 perspective opened up a additional investor interest, by adapting the narrative surrounding impact.

41:00 Discusses finance-first impact, and profit centered opportunities. Uses the example of PETA as example one impact strategy, and how lab grown meat can drive massive positive impacts based on profit motives, with similar results


-Jake Chapman www.twitter.com/runvc

-The Labrynth (Jake’s newsletter) labyrinth.substack.com

-Jake Techcrunch articles www.techcrunch.com/author/jake-chapman

-Alpha Bridge Ventures www.alphabridge.vc

-Project Atlas (from Alpha Bridge)


-Lambda School www.lambdaschool.com

-The Assembly www.theassembly.com

-Quip www.getquip.com

- Alpha Foods www.alphaplantbased.com

-Imperfect Foods www.imperfectfoods.com

-THE LOTTERY (book backgrounder) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lottery

-THE LOTTERY (movie based on book) www.imdb.com/title/tt3314228

-Backgrounder on Utopia (as a mental model) www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FHsKQZ_-r8&list=PL8LT8wA_UqAwCuOsOq9b-qKGfr_hnOwvw&index=4

-UTOPIA (the original book) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_(book)

-The Jetsons intro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oDaHRbIDH8&list=PL8LT8wA_UqAwCuOsOq9b-qKGfr_hnOwvw&index=8&t=0s

-Gene Roddenberry / ‘Radical Abundance’ / Star Trek en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_influence_of_Star_Trek

- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

-The Drapers www.meetthedrapers.com/

-Kauffman Fellows / Venture Deals course www.kauffmanfellows.org/program

-Michael Freeman’s Report on Founder Mental Health


-Book: THE FOUNDERS DILEMMA (Noam Wasserman) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B009EDDINA/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_Pt-JEbMTK7KCP

-Book: GIVE AND TAKE (Adam Grant)


-Natilus (Autonomous drone delivery) https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/as-autonomous-technology-transforms-the-global-freight-sector-natilus-attracts-more-seed-investment-from-starburst-ventures-seraph-group-gelt-vc-outpost-capital-and-draper-associates-300554341.html

-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) www.peta.org

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Song Credit: The Croft — By Joakim Karud

[ No Copyright on Music and Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 ]



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A Community focused on Venture Scale Positive Impacts. Produced by Zecca Lehn. On Twitter @posi2ive.