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Julia Lipton_E8: The Future is Awesome [6/22/2020]

Julia Lipton, GP at Awesome People Ventures HQ’d Remote


Producer’s Note: About a year ago, the idea of an asynchronous podcast popped into my head. Over the past couple of weeks, a very special guest has helped this experiment happen. In many ways it reminded me of letter correspondence, and brings a deeper level of introspection and thought into our conversation. This episode was recorded via voice text over 10 days. To my knowledge, it’s the first async podcast published, and for RSS distribution. Kind regards, Zecca #2020posi2ive

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


1:30 Shares passion for venture. Focused on World Positive investing — mostly Wellness, and Future-of-Work — Freedom, Flexibility, and Fulfillment in every day lives. Finding Awesome people doing awesome projects. Also has a talent matching-network for paid, on demand talent.

3:20 Notes immeasurable nature of Awesome Person and startups — yet has a general framework of honesty / genuine / authentic / good humans. Highlights intrinsic drive beyond “just make money”. Notes the value of team-for-life people within network. Also uses cold-outbound in new spaces — empowering creative class. A blend of trusted people ingrained, helps find value.

SECTION1: Barriers to Entrepreneurship

7:00 Highlights need to understand “Game-of-VC”, not necessarily specific to World Positive Founders. Uses LP example of need to get money back, unlike Philanthropic Venture. Talks about risky bets returning-the-fund, and highlights the math of returns that VCs look for (see link in shownotes to Jerry Neumann’s article).

10:45 Talks about barriers to entry. Defines importance of reaching out to people who have scaled before — giving value first, to gain new connections and learnings. People who are already starting startups, can help level-up efforts — particular attention to their content.

11:45 Shares MakerPad / TWIST / MemberStack Slack communities — see below. She sees a gap in trust-within community opportunity space, and will announce two investments in this space soon.

12:20 Remote Work / Rise of the Solopreneur / NoCode — core areas of focus currently at Awesome People Ventures.

12:58 Future-of-Work is what she’s very excited about — specifically Remote-Work. Talks about supporting these areas prior to the Pandemic. Highlights happiness differences between remote and non-remote — link to presentation stats below. Also talks about change in GenZ demographics toward solopreneur movement. Starting to see purpose as a center focus, for GenZ.

15:55 Discusses investment in WingSpan (see shownotes) — backend management for solopreneurs. Hints at an entire stack that needs to be built, to successfully run a “business of one.” 17:00 Also, talks about things in NoCode space moving up the stack, to make visual-layer application layer modifications. Talks about investment in DraftBit — making high quality NoCode React Native Output.

SECTION2: Investor-Market Fit

17:00 Discuss “Finance-First” versus “Impact First Impact” (see link to 2013 Stanford ref). I also discuss Social Finance and Blended Finance, in relation to “World Positive” (see Obvious Ventures 2016 article below [origination]).

19:00 Shares how her view of World Positive investing is geared. Discusses how some are investing in healthcare, others in climate deals, and they are also World Positive companies. Shares excitement about hyper-growth scale and venture, and how she entered the space. Talks about a subset that are trying to do good in the world, and skewing venture dollars can lead to bigger impact — especially in big markets like healthcare, hunger, and other areas of human need.

22:30 Breaks down dimensions of Investor-Market Fit — matching skills to things like capital markets / industries / beliefs. Highlights her knowledge of VC/startups leading her toward World Positive, over something like Private Equity / public markets / grants. Discusses use of time and leverage, where investors can contribute most to Founders where they are both useful and passionate.

24:00 Merits of Specialization mentioned (See Rick Moran at NewStack Ventures interview below). Ask Julia, how investors can find their own market and purpose to focus on.

24:35 What are your superpowers, and what put you in the game? She suggests doubling down on superpower!

SECTION3: Investor-Founder Alignment

26:00 Recommends first, to research investors you want to align with. Learn about them, and study their portfolio companies. If they seem similar, then look for this positive signal. Doing this research can help you stand out, she says. Do homework, it can pay dividends.

27:00 Talks about meaningfully adding perspective on a market, and sharing your thesis to grab the attention of the investor. Look online and tailor the message.

28:00 Shares the power of creating work and improving economic wellbeing. Also shares positive energy surrounding the async experiment. Her #1 is honesty, trust, and compassion. She wants us to start from a place of compassion, and listening — to make the world better.


- Julia Lipton, VC https://www.linkedin.com/in/julialipton/

- Awesome People Ventures: https://www.awesomepeople.ventures/

-Awesome People Co. (Talent): https://www.awesomepeople.co/

-2019 State of Wellness and Work (Awesome People Ventures): https://www.awesomepeople.ventures/annual-report

- Why do VCs insist on only investing in high-risk, high-return companies? (Jerry Neumann, 2019) http://reactionwheel.net/2019/01/why-do-vcs-insist-on-only-investing-in-high-risk-high-return-companies.html

-TWIST Calacanis (See Slack Community): https://thisweekinstartups.com/

-MakerPad (See Slack Community): https://www.makerpad.co/

-MemberStack (See Slack Community): https://www.memberstack.io/

-OWL Labs (Additional Statistics on Future of Work): https://www.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2019

-GenZ in the Workforce (Statistics): https://online.csp.edu/generation-z-in-the-workforce

-Wingspan (backend Entrepreneur management app): https://wingspan.app/

-Passion Economy A16Z: https://a16z.com/2019/10/08/passion-economy/

-Draftbit (Portfolio company): https://draftbit.com/

-React Native: https://reactnative.dev/

-Why Female Investors are Driving the Rise of “Investor-Market Fit”: https://clairediazortiz.com/about/

-2013 Stanford, “Financial-First Impact” Investing (vs “Impact First”): https://ssir.org/articles/entry/financial_first_impact_investing

-2013 UBS, History of “Sustainable Investing” (stemming from “Ethical Investing” [1500’s]): https://www.ubs.com/content/dam/WealthManagementAmericas/documents/UBS-Research-Focus-Sustainable-Investing-July2013.pdf

-2016 Obvious Ventures, discussing “World Positive”: https://worldpositive.com/hello-world-positive-6c59bde1c7cf

-Elizabeth Kraus, Fund81 Episode #3: The Generalist vs the Specialist VC interviewing Nick Moran (NewStack Ventures): https://www.mergelane.com/post/the-generalist-vs-the-specialist-vc-with-nick-moran

-MergeLane (Fund81 VC Fund): https://www.mergelane.com/fund81#about

-NewStack Ventures (see interview above with Nick Moran): http://www.newstack.vc/

-The Postal Service (Async DAT song story [Ht @leepnet]): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Postal_Service

-AudioFirst (backgrounder): https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/sponsored-omny-studio-audio-mkav18/

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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.