Why I Joined NMV

by: | Apr 01, 2015

The most crushing rejection of my life was neither college, job, nor even romance related. It was, as is fitting my rather nerdy life trajectory, about public policy. After 6 months of elaborate econometric work, countless late nights staring, bleary eyed, into the dull glow of Excel, and more study of Census data than should be undertaken by any sane human being, I presented my policy recommendations to the relevant stakeholders.

It was, at first, a great day—the boss liked it, the staffers liked it, heck, even some Republicans begrudgingly admitted it might be alright! And then I made the mistake of asking a simple question.

“So, what’s next?”

My boss chuckled.

“Well…when Democrats retake the House…and the Senate…and the Presidency…” he went on, as his words faded out and my heart sank.

I learned something that day that most people in progressive politics already know: the obstacle to change is not a shortage of clever white papers written by clever wonks.

We’re funding 6 new startups!

by: | Mar 23, 2015

Today, we are announcing our investment in 6 promising startups via our Innovation Fund at ImpactAssets, bringing our portfolio of for-profits and non-profits to almost 30. Together, these entrepreneurs bring to market best-in-class tools for progressive organizations to deepen engagement with their audiences, from fundraising to driving action. We’re proud these startups will increase the impact advocacy organizations, nonprofits and progressive campaigns have on a super practical level.

On a more personal note, we’re excited that the New Media Ventures investment will represent the first external capital for most of these entrepreneurs – we’re providing truly early-stage financing. This group of founders is also among the most diverse we have funded to date!

New Media Ventures and its community can support these entrepreneurs in many ways, beyond capital. Perhaps you are a potential customer, advisor, investor or partner for one of these startups?  

Our Unofficial Guide to Fundraising

by: | Mar 12, 2015

Any day now, we’ll be announcing our first startup investments via the Innovation Fund. For some companies, the $50,000 investment is all they need at this stage but for most, this capital is the first step in a bigger fundraising round. Naturally, these entrepreneurs are turning to us for guidance on how to fundraise and who to fundraise from.

In service of the broader community of entrepreneurs, here’s a summary of the advice we usually give:

  • Be specific about you what need. I’m always surprised that many entrepreneurs do not know how much money they are raising and what for exactly. Here is one of the best fundraising guides I’ve seen from our buddies at the Unreasonable Institute. It’s a goldmine of helpful suggestions, including how to be specific. It even includes sample emails.
  • Make it easy for people to help you. 

Innovation Fund: Is Your Startup The Right Fit?

by: | Feb 26, 2015

Last week, we shared what we are learning from the Innovation Fund. This week, we summarize how we chose the startups we will be investing in. Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement!

Clearly, the first thing we look for are technology or media startups who create progressive change via scalable, revenue-generating business models. But beyond that, what kinds of startups and entrepreneurs are a good fit for our Innovation Fund? 

1. Far along enough to demonstrate proof of concept

The Innovation Fund is dedicated to investing in early-stage start-ups. Nonetheless, we look for start-ups that can prove that actual people are interested in paying real money for their product or service. A start-up that has one or two customers who are using a rough prototype of the product is much more attractive than a start-up with 1,000 potential customers who have expressed interest or a polished product with no real customers.

2015 MBA Summer Fellow: Apply Now!

by: | Feb 25, 2015

We are now accepting applications for the 2015 New Media Ventures Summer Fellowship.

NMV Summer Fellows are MBA students who are either currently attending business school or have just graduated. They will spend the summer 2015 with the New Media Ventures team (exact dates are flexible).

The role:

This is a great opportunity to roll-up your sleeves and get practical experience in early-stage impact investing.

You will:

  • Conduct diligence on early-stage start-ups
  • Improve the technical assistance program we provide our portfolio companies
  • Help organize events and meet interesting people
  • Work with a team of kick-ass, passionate people creating a new investor culture

About You:

You want to use your sharp analytical skills to evaluate business models, and are lit up by the opportunity to drive social change. You are intrigued by the whole idea of political impact investment.

Innovation Fund: What We’re Learning So Far

by: | Feb 17, 2015

At New Media Ventures, we launched an Innovation Fund to invest in early-stage technology and media start-ups. We are learning so much about investing at the very early stage.

First, the need is there! We received over 100 applications to our open call! We narrowed this pool down to 16 thanks to the help of an expert screening committee and are conducting final diligence and discussing terms as we speak. We will likely invest in 4-6 companies in this round.

Second, finding scalable media (content) companies is challenging. The media and content companies we reviewed find it hard to develop revenue-generating business models. In addition, a number of media companies we saw shy away from the progressive advocacy we look for. Maybe we need to create a dedicated vertical in our next open call?

Third, conducting diligence on early-stage companies is very different. 

Why I joined NMV

by: | Jan 29, 2015

Or, how going from business consulting to political impact investing actually makes sense.

Up until 3 weeks ago, I had focused my career on finding ways for business to do well by doing good.  I got an MBA, trained with the best strategy consultants at the Boston Consulting Group and applied that learning to making companies more sustainable at Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting. While at Blu Skye, I pioneered the development of sustainable agriculture goals for a large retailer, I shepherded a group of for-profit and non-profit leaders in the apparel world working together to reduce the impact of their supply chain and convinced a climate-skeptic oil company to embrace a bold sustainability strategy.

As exciting as this work was, I found that what companies could do was inherently limited. This limit is created by government decisions (e.g. without a price on carbon,

We’re Hiring! (again)

by: | Jan 09, 2015

Job Description: Executive Assistant at New Media Ventures

New Media Ventures is a small organization with a huge vision to find, fund and support media and tech startups driving progressive change. We are a network of forward thinking funders and investors, we are pioneering new ways of supporting some of the most innovative startups in the progressive sector. We recognize that social change often requires political action, and we fund entrepreneurs who are unafraid to pull the lever of politics to make an impact.

We do all this with a tiny staff and nimble organization, and we are looking for a stellar assistant who will help us keep the trains running on time. This role is critical to ensuring that New Media Ventures runs smoothly and efficiently, particularly as we look to grow and scale our work.

Your responsibilities will be:

  • Work with our fiscal sponsor to submit expense reports,