March 18, 2022

Entrepreneurism and the power of paying it forward​

I like to believe that most people who enter the startup world have a greater sense of purpose than making money. Whether it’s creating a product or service that makes life more convenient or kicking off a technological sea change, entrepreneurism goes hand in hand with building a better future. ​

You’ll see this kind of thinking on full display in Silicon Valley, where many established startup companies have created their own foundations that leverage their particular expertise to make a positive impact. Cherubic Ventures portfolio company and rising star Flexport is a perfect example. ​ ​ ​ ​

As recently as March, Hollywood power couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher started a GoFundMe website page with the aim of raising 300 million US dollars in humanitarian aid for Ukrainians displaced by Russian forces. What makes this effort truly unique is that it goes beyond simple fundraising and works with two startup foundations to oversee exactly how the funds are used. ​ ​ ​ ​

Described by Forbes as a digital transformation solutions provider for the logistics industry, Flexport is lending the campaign its digital logistics platform to arrange the efficient distribution of relief supplies to Ukrainian refugees throughout the region. Meanwhile, global home-sharing app Airbnb is providing refugees with free short-term housing. By offering their unique expertise, these companies are helping to ensure that funds are used much more effectively. They are also using their profiles to inspire more positive action and participation among netizens. ​

Silicon Valley startups that don’t have their own foundations have also found creative ways to contribute over the last few years. Cherubic Ventures portfolio company and meditation sleep app Calm provided free mental health resources to help users with anxiety during the worst phases of the pandemic. Meanwhile, UK-based edtech startup Kuato Studios worked with non-profits to create an educational Nintendo Switch game called “Well-Beings”, which was designed to help hospitalized children stay connected to learning and the world. These activities were not merely CSR efforts but a great extension of those brands’ images. ​ ​

As an investor, it is very important to me that the companies I invest in can have a positive impact on the future. Therefore, when I see a startup like Flexport that is willing to throw in their hands when help is needed, I’m not only moved, I have even more desire to support this kind of company and their positive initiatives. ​ ​ ​ ​

That’s why I strongly encourage all entrepreneurs to stop and think every day: “How can the things my company does be paid forward and make the world a better place?” ​ ​

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