Let’s face it: planet earth has problems. BIG problems. Fortunately, planet earth is also home to a lot of intelligent, creative, innovative people with the ability to solve the greatest challenges of our time. And today more than ever, many of these people are choosing to attack these challenges through capitalism and entrepreneurship – a thing called “impact investing.”
Impact Through Entrepreneurship
Our partner and managing member, Eric Lawrence, is Education Chair for his YPO Rocky Mountain Chapter. For those that aren’t familiar, YPO (the “Young Presidents Organization”) is a global organization of CEOs and Presidents, and Eric’s chapter of 100 members is one of the most respected chapters in the YPO network. Recently, Eric centered one of his education events on impact investing and immersed his fellow members in the impact entrepreneurship sphere where they could apply their skills and experience in a non-traditional way. His goal? To engage his members with entrepreneurs who were building businesses designed to solve major social and environmental problems, each one with a plan to impact a million or more lives.
Save a Million Lives: The Event
Invited to lead the event was Daniel Epstein, known as one of the top Impact Entrepreneurs of our generation. As founder of the Unreasonable Group and Unreasonable Capital, Daniel is obsessed with marrying disruptive entrepreneurs with innovation and capital to address the world’s BFPs (Big F@#$ Problems). Eric met Daniel a few years ago through a Matter Family Office event and was blown away by the “unreasonable” concept he had created and the incredible businesses he was working with. He was convinced that exposing YPO members to these businesses would inspire them and open them up to new opportunities for impact in their own businesses. And in turn, the Unreasonable entrepreneurs would get some fresh ideas to help them scale to reach a million or more people. By borrowing brainstorming techniques similar to those implemented at innovative firms like Google, YPO members worked with four entrepreneurs to help them address their biggest issues. The idea flow was spectacular and the eye-opening to the world of impact investing was blinding!
Two of the ventures presented at the event were:
The Lassy Project – a free mobile app service that gives parents and guardians the ability to notify an entire local community about their missing loved one in seconds – a reinvention of the “Amber Alert.” The restrictions and paperwork that apply to filing for an AMBER Alert do not apply to Lassy Project so hours lost in paperwork when a child goes missing can be eliminated.
AguaInc – a company that turns wastewater and its treatment into a beautiful asset for communities through an innovative wastewater treatment using plants. The bonus is that the cost of construction and the cost of ongoing operation is materially less than traditional wastewater treatment facilities, creating an exciting investment opportunities for the private sector in partnership with public utilities.
At Matter, 75 percent of our clients have created their own wealth. And an emerging generation of entrepreneurs is looking for ways to leverage their resources to achieve broad societal impact. Philanthropy has always been an option, but the possibility of complementing philanthropic strategies with investing and other strategies unlocks incredible potential for those with the resources to affect change. At Matter we dedicate our support, networks and expertise to help our clients understand, build and sustain their wealth so that they have the flexibility to pursue their passions wherever they may lie.
*Eric Lawrence is a member and board member for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of YPO. YPO is a peer network of chief executives and business leaders. Founded in 1950, today it counts 23,000 peers and their families in more than 130 countries. Members of YPO are peers who share in common the achievement of success at an early age (before 45); a commitment to learning as a lifelong adventure; and a desire to connect authentically in an environment of trust and confidentiality.