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Social + Capital Partnership, Success Through Social Conscience, a Rarity
When we think of venture capital, social conscience does not often come to mind. This is because venture capital is focused on making money. Socially oriented causes are not usually associated with the most profitable of ventures. For Social + Capital Partnership, also known as S23P to have raised over USD 600 million is therefore extremely noteworthy. S23P was founded by one of Facebook’s early executives in 2011, and serial venture capitalist, Chamath Palihapitiya.
Both the company and its founder have exceeded expectations in many ways. Mr.. Palihapitiya is a true rags to riches story. The man of Sri Lankan descent grew up in poverty in Toronto, and joined Facebook in its early days. Following this, he started getting involved in startups. S23P is his most successful venture. His ambitions and hard work have paid off, as the USD 600 million raised has surpassed the already lofty initial goal of USD 450 million. We also know that Mr.. Palihapitya is committed to his cause. The proof is in the fact that Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, one of the largest investment companies in California tried to buy out S23P. The founder stood his ground and turned the offer down.
S23P is not what you might typically expect from a socially conscious venture capital firm. Its focus is not on purely charitable causes such as schools for the underprivileged, orphanages, and various charitable foundations. It seeks to improve the quality of life for all and tackle some of the deeper and more widespread societal issues that we face. For example, it has invested in the diabetes management platform known as Glooko. Diabetes is one of the more serious problems that modern societies, particularly affluent ones suffering from an obesity epidemic face today. Another investment is GetSet, which seeks to minimize college dropout rates. This last one is particularly important given that the least privileged among us are more likely to drop out of university. This is not just due to the student being incapable, but may be due to external factors such as money, health, or family problems.
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