CEO/Founder at Collaborative Fund
A little more than three years ago, we launched Collaborative Fund with the goal of “investing in startups focused on two themes: collaborative consumption and those which use their values as a competitive edge.” We continue to believe that the underlying values of collaboration are core to successful 21st century businesses and hope our portfolio is a reflection of that belief.
Within a few months of our original launch, the sharing economy became a very hot topic, showing up across mainstream media and in many venture capital investment theses. Some of our early investments have started to drive real impact, for example: Kickstarter is closing in on $1B billion dollars of total fundings, TaskRabbit is helping employ more than 20,000 people in twenty cities, and Lyft is arranging over 30,000 rides per week.
Today, I am excited to share that we’ve quietly continued to build out our portfolio, our team, and investor base, resulting in a second fund, $33 million in size.
One of the things I am most proud of is the fact that our original investors were the driving force behind this second fund. Their belief in our mission and thesis has provided a sturdy foundation for Collaborative Fund to build on for many years to come.
It is not often that venture capital funds talk about where their capital comes from. In our case however, we think it is an essential ingredient to who we are as a team and where we are headed as an organization. Our Limited Partners provide a sense of origin and purpose.
With our second fund, we’ve added several new investors that each bring a unique perspective and set of experiences into our group, ranging from a former Sequoia Capital General Partner, Tom McMurray, to the iconic artist, Shepard Fairey. (**note this is the first time in history these two people were ever mentioned in the same sentence!)
In addition to welcoming new investors, we have grown the investment team. Specifically, Jungju (Jay) Kim has joined us as a Venture Partner. Originally an investor in Collaborative, we’re delighted to have Jay take an active role — working out of our New York office, evaluating new investment opportunities and providing support to our portfolio companies.
It is hard for me to capture the impact of Jay’s involvement and experience. Having founded Nexon Corp in 1994, Jay built a game publisher and developer which released a few titles at a time, slowly building momentum into a business that went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as the second largest technology IPO worldwide in 2011. He never took venture capital, and to-date is a majority shareholder in his business, twenty years later. Along the way, Jay became one of the most well-respected entrepreneurs in the world, and a thought leader whose perspective on building businesses for the long term has already shaped our thinking.
Jay complements and deepens our diverse team. It only seems natural that a prolific Korean entrepreneur would fit so perfectly with a South African-born philosophy major, a machine-loving design teacher, a Brazilian technologist, and a recovering graffiti artist.
Beyond the day-to-day expertise that we have gained from having Jay come aboard, his decision to join us is another signal that our investment thesis resonates on a global scale. Consumers are evolving and businesses have to rapidly adapt in order to keep up. Brands, products, and company strategy all factor into consumer choice more than ever. Our purchasing behavior tells a story about how we align our values.
We believe our portfolio demonstrates our values. But that doesn’t mean we have stopped evolving — we know we have a lot more to learn and a lot of hard but interesting work ahead. We look forward to those next steps as our fund and team continues to grow!