Seeking Mission-Driven Founders
Better Ventures backs mission-driven founders leveraging technology to solve the world’s biggest problems. We provide funding and support to early-stage companies harnessing innovations in software, data science, and the life sciences to address the challenges of our time, from narrowing the opportunity gap to improving healthcare to reversing climate change. Our companies are innovating in fundamental industries - work, education, health, water and agriculture - in ways that will generate big profits and produce measurable outcomes commensurate with the Sustainable Development Goals. Given the magnitude of these problems and the enormous market opportunities they represent, we seek founders with the intellectual capacity, technical expertise, and drive to build truly world-changing companies.
We take a concentrated and hands-on approach to seed investing. We make initial investments of $250k to $750k ($400k is our typical first check) in pre-seed and seed-stage companies and reserve 2-3x that amount for follow-on at Series A and later rounds. We invest in 5-7 companies per year and spend a a significant amount of time working with our founders to help accelerate their success and achieve key milestones for the next round of financing. Our core investment thesis is that mission-driven companies outperform the market, and our playbook is built around leveraging mission as an unfair advantage in hiring the best talent, acquiring and retaining customers, and building a loyal following. We are currently investing out of our third fund and pursuing opportunities across the following themes:
Future of work
Future of food
Our core investment thesis is that mission-driven startups outperform
Wes enjoys rolling up his sleeves to help mission-driven entrepreneurs realize their vision for building high-growth world-changing companies. Wes has 15 years of venture capital and financial advisory experience with Good Capital’s Social Enterprise Expansion Fund, William Blair, and Ernst & Young's Mergers & Acquisitions group. He earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a BBA from the University of Michigan. Wes has volunteered with organizations around the globe, which has fueled his passion for applying his business skills to build a better world. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and three young kids and enjoys road cycling in the East Bay hills and Sunday trips to the farmers market.
Rick thrives on helping startups succeed. He can often be found at the whiteboard working through business models, organization building, customer engagement metrics or product road maps. He has over a decade of technology and entrepreneurship experience at The Modem Shop (which he founded) and Kleiner Perkins-backed WineShopper.com (acquired by Wine.com) and corporate venture capital experience with Oracle and Sun Microsystems. He holds a BA from Trinity College and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College. Rick believes passionately that technology should be used to address the world's most important problems. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and two kids, is an avid cyclist and a craft beer enthusiast.
Jessica is passionate about finding promising mission-driven companies and catalyzing their growth and impact with capital and support. She has a strong operational background from working with various social enterprises, nonprofits and foundations. Prior to Better Ventures, she helped Off Grid Electric, an energy access startup, double its footprint from two to four African countries and build foundational systems to accelerate scaling. Jessica earned her B.S. and M.S. from Stanford University, studying how to improve the intersection between humanity and the natural world. She strongly believes in a future that has truly sustainable, thriving communities and loves exploring new pockets of nature, in the sunshine, whenever possible.