Author: Collaborative Fund

SOS: A New Fund and a Call to Action

Collab SOS: A New Fund and a Call to Action

As a complement to Shared Future, a dedicated fund providing rapid, catalytic capital to entrepreneurs working on climate solutions, we are thrilled to share a new $200 million fund called Collab SOS — which invests in Series A and Series B companies fueling a more sustainable economy across materials, ingredients, energy, and supply chains. Our criteria for investing is simple:

Is your product or service better for the planet, without asking consumers to sacrifice?

The back half of that statement is our bullseye.

Tesla doesn’t ask us to settle on speed or aesthetics.

Impossible Foods doesn’t ask us to compromise on taste.

Stella McCartney doesn’t ask us to sacrifice on style.

And these pioneers are not alone.

Allbirds is using recycled plastic bottles to manufacture their laces. Everlane has used over 34,000 lbs of regenerated nylon waste to develop its swimwear collection.

Flexport launched a dashboard to help supply chain and logistics teams quickly assess and manage sustainability programs—such as enrolling in carbon offset programs and analyzing shipment emissions.

Large companies have committed to bold environmental goals including Etsy powering its marketplace with 100% renewable electricity and Lyft committing to using 100% electric vehicles by 2030.

Dandelion is helping consumers free their homes from using fossil fuels and Span electrifies everything inside.

The Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle is on its way to becoming the first net zero certified arena in the world. This includes the construction materials, the (Read more...)


Fifty-four years ago this month, in a push for publicity, The Sunday Times offered £5,000 to whoever could sail solo nonstop around the world the fastest. It was technically a race, but that was an afterthought, as no one had ever completed the feat.

There were no qualification requirements and few rules. Nine men joined the race, one of whom had never sailed. Just one man finished, 312 days and 27,000 miles later.

But it was two participants who never completed the race that generated the most news. One ended up dead, the other found himself happier than ever. Both outcomes came from decisions made at sea, but neither had anything to do with sailing.

The two men, Donald Crowhurst and Bernard Moitessier, are astounding examples of how the quality of your life is shaped by who you want to impress. Their stories are extreme, but what they dealt with was just a magnified version of what ordinary people face all the time, and likely one you’re facing right now.

Donald Crowhurst was a tinkerer who came up with his own boat modifications. Convinced his innovations could propel him to win the Sunday Times race, he faced just one obstacle: he was broke, and stood no chance of financing the race himself.

Crowhurst struck a deal with an English businessman who agreed to cover the cost of the race under two conditions: They would orchestrate a media frenzy, portraying Crowhurst as a sailing savant. And if Crowhurst didn’t finish, he (Read more...)

Wealth vs. Getting Wealthier

Will Smith writes in his biography that:

  • Becoming famous is amazing.

  • Being famous is a mixed bag.

  • Losing fame is miserable.

The amount of fame almost doesn’t matter. It’s the trajectory that people cling to.

Same with money. I think for a lot of people the process of becoming wealthier feels better than having wealth.

If it’s wealth we were after, most of us would feel great, because most of us are unfathomably wealthier than we were a generation or two ago. Or ten years ago. Or five years ago. Or two years ago!

What feels great is being on an upward path. That’s when dopamine takes over. That’s when you can extrapolate it and assume it goes on forever, and compare yourself to where you were before, and feel like nothing can stop you.

When that path declines – even if it happens when you have a level of wealth you couldn’t fathom a few years ago – the whole sensation shatters.

U.S. household net worth is $80 trillion higher today than it was ten years ago, which is astounding. But it’s about $700 billion lower than it was three months ago, which is honestly nothing. Yet one of those figures creates ten times the headlines, ten times the attention, ten times the emotions, ten times the introspection. It has nothing to do with the level of wealth and everything to do with the trajectory.

The problem is that an occasional downward path is inevitable in investing. Outside of (Read more...)

The Playbook

Maverick is back and given the Top Gun sequel has raked in more than $800 million to date, it is already the biggest blockbuster of Tom Cruise’s career. A lot has changed since the original nearly four decades ago, but the secret to its success lies in what hasn’t changed — its “playbook.”

When one of the movie’s producers recently described how his team approached the script, he highlighted a conversation he had with Cruise shortly before the project started. The message was clear. Cruise said,

“This is a competition film. It’s about family, emotion, and the characters. We have to stay true to the original.”

While the Top Gun sequel employed modern technology and implemented a plot to fit the times, Cruise knew that its ultimate success (or lack thereof) would boil down to how well it followed the playbook that made the original so successful. The producers executed on that vision.

Top Gun’s playbook is simple — appeal to the nostalgia of those who saw the movie in the theaters in the mid-80’s. Remind them of the time they bought their first aviators after seeing Maverick wear them on the runway at Miramar, echoed the line “you can be my wingman anytime”, and rolled down their car windows, cranked up the volume, and driven a little faster when Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” came on the radio.

The journalist Rich Eisen said it better on his show a couple weeks ago after seeing the movie,

“I cannot tell you (Read more...)

Keep It Going

A quick story about athletes and investors.

A big difference between professional and amateur athletes is the intensity of training. The intuition of amateur athletes is to push as hard as they can, testing the limits of their potential, maximizing what they’re capable of, grind until you’re broken, no pain no gain.

The training schedules of professional athletes – once a good coach enters the picture – tends to be calmer.

A group of researchers recently looked at the training schedule of a dozen Olympic-level cross-country skiers, who are some of the most insane athletes you’ll ever witness.

Over a year the athletes trained an average of 861 hours – a couple hours a day. Each hour was broken up into three buckets: High intensity (>87% of max heart rate, huffing and puffing), medium intensity (82%-87% max heart rate, heavy breathing), and low intensity (60%-82% max heart rate, you can probably carry on a conversation).

After a year, the training schedule broke out like this:

  • 88.7% of training hours were light intensity.

  • 6.4% were medium intensity.

  • 4.8% were high intensity.

The huge majority of the time was spent barely pushing themselves, almost cruising along at a leisurely pace.

You’ll find nearly the same percentage breakdown when studying professional runners.

And professional cyclists.

And rowers.

And swimmers.

It’s astounding, isn’t it? Some of the best athletes in the world spend almost all their time working way below potential, purposefully not pushing themselves to the limits.

They don’t (Read more...)

Too Far

Every good idea and every admirable trait can be taken too far.

A few big ones where balance is everything:

Confidence without arrogance.

Optimism without complacency.

Independence without isolation.

Skepticism without cynicism.

Respect without idolizing.

Loyalty without fealty.

Open-minded without gullibility.

Opportunistic without FOMO.

Patience without stubbornness.

Caution without pessimism.

Risk without recklessness.

Passion without addiction.

Ambition without greed.

Honesty without disrespect.

Aspiration without insatiability.

Intelligence without overconfidence.

Success without ego.

Adaptable without being erratic.

Learning without cherry-picking.

Brevity without oversimplifying.

Simple without vapid.

Leadership without dominance.

Marketing without charlatanism.

Connection without dependance.

Luxury without excess.

Saving without hoarding.

Praise without flattery.

First Investments from Shared Future Fund

Fresh off the heels of announcing the Shared Future Fund, we are excited to share its first batch of investments and partnerships.

As a refresher, the goal of Shared Future Fund is to provide catalytic funding and useful resources to early-stage entrepreneurs working to solve the global climate crisis.

Towards that end, we’ve decided to work with a few partners that foster the type of innovation and breakthrough we look to support. First, we teamed up with Y Combinator to offer funding to every climate-focused company in its Winter ‘22 cohort. See graphic below for a sample of companies we’ve backed thus far.

In addition to supporting Y Combinator climate-focused companies, we’re delighted to announce our partnership with Activate. Beginning this June, Shared Future Fund is offering investment to every 2021 and 2022 Activate Fellow.

Prior to launching Shared Future Fund, Collaborative invested in several companies founded by Activate Fellows, including Brimstone and Noon Energy. Both of these companies prove the quality of the fellowship through their amazing work aiming to make the scientific breakthroughs necessary to getting to net zero and beyond.

“It is hard to overstate the transformational impact that Activate and Collaborative have had on Brimstone’s journey. Activate gave us a lab and money and time at a critical point where no one else in the system would have, allowing us to plant the seed of the company we have today. Then Collaborative, with their unique approach to VC, gave us a game-changing (Read more...)

Verne: The Case for Hydrogen Fuel

The transportation sector is the fourth-largest global contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, following Energy, Industry, and Agriculture.

In the U.S., Transportation is the largest direct source of GHG emissions, representing 29% of total.

This is why decarbonizing transportation must be a priority.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are a viable solution to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars. But for long-haul transportation – which includes medium and heavy-duty vehicles, aviation, and maritime use cases – EVs have not offered a compelling solution given limitations in range and payload capacity.

In searching for alternatives, hydrogen has been highlighted as the fuel of choice for its potential role in supporting a zero-emission, heavy-duty transportation industry. Hydrogen scales very well when there is a high-energy requirement and offers fueling speeds comparable to those of diesel. But challenges related to the sourcing, processing, and storage of hydrogen have limited its mainstream adoption.

This is why we are excited to invest in Verne.

Founders Ted, David, and Bav have developed an innovative hydrogen storage system that overcomes the cost, performance, and fuel supply issues of compressed and liquid hydrogen.

Building upon decades of research, Verne stores hydrogen in the cryo-compressed state: the sweet spot of low temperature and moderate pressure.

Cryo-compressed hydrogen is not as cold as liquid hydrogen, saving substantially on the energy required to reach high density. Yet the hydrogen in the cryo-compressed state is just as dense as liquid hydrogen, due to the combination of pressure and cold temperature. (Read more...)

Once In A Lifetime

I want to try to explain part of why the world seems so crazy these days.

Evelyn Marie Adams won $3.9 million in the New Jersey lottery in 1986. Four months later she won again, collecting another $1.4 million.

'‘I’m going to quit playing,’’ she told the New York Times. ‘‘I’m going to give everyone else a chance.’’

It was a big story at the time, because number-crunchers put the odds of her double win at a staggering 1 in 17 trillion.

Three years later two mathematicians, Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller, threw cold water on the excitement.

If one person plays the lottery, the odds of picking the winning numbers twice are indeed 1 in 17 trillion.

But if one hundred million people play the lottery week after week – which is the case in America – the odds that someone will win twice are actually quite good. Diaconis and Mosteller figured it was 1 in 30.

That number didn’t make many headlines.

'‘With a large enough sample, any outrageous thing is apt to happen,” Mosteller said.

That’s part of why the world seems so crazy, and why once-in-a-lifetime events seem to happen regularly.

There are about eight billion people on this planet. So if an event has a 1-in-a-million chance of occurring every day, it should happen to 8,000 people a day, or 2.9 million times a year, and maybe a quarter of a billion times during your lifetime. Even a 1-in-a-billion event will become the fate (Read more...)

Different Kinds of BS

There are three important facts about bullshit: It’s everywhere, it’s influential, and it’s dangerous.

The amount of publicly accessible information today would have seemed unfathomable 10 or 20 years ago. What used to be hidden is now free and abundant, from financial information to global news to insight into how millions of people live on social media. But are we actually better informed? Are we making decisions? Less susceptible to bad ones? Sometimes yes. But often the answer is no, or we’ve gone backwards, and part of the reason is that information turns into bullshit as easily as ice turns into water.

Bullshit can go unnoticed because people are more concerned with lies. Lies, once spotted, are unmistakable and their damage is obvious. But bullshit stops just short of a lie, mixing the integrity of the truth with the deceit of a lie in a way that leaves both the bullshiter and his recipient feeling satisfied.

If a company tells investors it has $20 million in the bank when it actually only has $10 million, that’s a lie. But if a company tells investors that it’s profitable if you ignore half of its expenses, that’s bullshit. And that kind of thing is everywhere, in every industry, every corner of society.

Jeff Bezos once said there are different kinds of smart. Distinguishing the various flavors is important because if you think smarts comes in just one form, you’ll miss dozens of other nuanced varieties.

Bullshit is the same. It (Read more...)