January 28, 2006

Reforming the charity donation process

Tonight, at the diabetes fundraiser, I heard a Mr. Greenbaum give an eloquent speech about his parallel reasons for giving so big to the cause.

He talked about the three groups in attendance and one being the investor. As an investor, it would be a little more exciting to invest in something that could take my small donation and make it something big. Than, tonight, i am reading Dave Winer's blog about the changes that should happen in the Venture Capital world.

Why not combine the two - Venture and Donation reform.

Here is his post - which is just an awesome idea. Mine is goofy and maybe reckless, but somewhat interesting and if the idea is right, may raise more than just from selling a horse.

"How to reform the VC industry
Posted in Venture Capital, Philosophy at 6:56 pm by Dave Winer
There’s a wisp of a discussion materializing in the tech blogosphere about reforming the VC industry. I have been thinking about this for many many years. It’s an exciting time because I think it might actually happen now. Here’s the rough outline of my plan to reshape the VC industry around the philosophy of the web.

1. One word: disintermediate. Take out the middleman. We don’t need the partners, limited or general, they gum up the works. We need money to start new ventures. Luckily we know the people with the money, they’re the users. And we need people to validate the ideas. Same people, the users.

2. It’s not actually a new idea. That’s how Netscape and the dotcommers that followed went through the roof of the stock market. People who traded could see the raw power of the Internet and knew, one way or the other, that this was going to change how everything was done, from business to romance, travel, gambling, everything. So the users of the Internet bid the stock of the Internet up. And up. And up. And so on.

3. So what did the middlemen do exactly? They invested in all kinds of idiotic things. Anyone could have made the bets they did. The users hadn’t had time to fully absorb the Internet in the 1990s so they bought all the garbage the middlemen shipped, leading to online pet food companies with market caps exceeding the largest industrial companies.

4. So now we’re in the middle of the next decade, and the users are caught up, and we’ve got a pipeline going, from entrepreneur to user, and maybe not much inbetween. Matt Mullenweg hasn’t taken on any VC to start wordpress.com. Who knows how far he can go without having to sell stock? I don’t want to say how he’s paying the bills, I’ll leave that up to Matt, but suffice it to say it’s honest, sustainable, and legal.

5. In any case, I’m sure there will be startups that need capital. Let’s assume so. So let’s start a new company, with Rick Segal as the CEO (if he’ll do it) called User Internet Capital Corp or something catchier. File all the right paper with the SEC, and do an IPO. You have to, because we’re going to be selling shares to the public right at the start. This thing will be public from day one. The purpose of the company will be to invest in promising young Internet companies, chosen by the users, nurture them through startup, get them liquid through acquisition or IPO and distribute dividends to the shareholders accordingly. Retain some cash for overhead and (I insist on this) a small percentage for pure technology research and development, so there will be new ideas to base the startups of 2009 and 2011 on.

That’s it. Never stop investing. All you have to do is listen to the users, who also happen to be the owners. How about that?"

My idea -

instead of the bankers making all the money off the users, include the charities.

The diabetes fundraiser tonight in Phoenix raised $2 million from the fantastic, generous crowd. How about take 25 percent of that and take a shot on the user picked group of promising picked internet companies so that the next google of the world’s profits go to great causes directly.

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