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 dedicated to scaling the impact of mission-driven companies. She has first-hand experience working across non-profits, foundations, and social enterprises, exposing her to a wide range of impact models. Prior to Better Ventures, Jessica worked with Zola (Off Grid) Electric, an energy access startup providing solar in Sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the leaders driving the company’s expansion from East to West Africa, she helped to double Zola's operational footprint and exponentially grow its impact. She was drawn to impact venture investing to continue accelerating the scale and growth of the most innovative solutions to the world's biggest problems. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University, studying the intersection of society and the environment. She strongly believes a sustainable future is possible, where people, and the natural systems that support them, are thriving. Jessica enjoys good conversation over a delicious meal, but most of all loves being outside with her dog, Pika.
Lyndsey is passionate about the role companies can play in catalyzing significant and scalable positive change in the world. She has 12 years experience in finance with UBS in Switzerland, Hong Kong and the US where she held numerous leadership roles across investment products and services, business development and corporate strategy. She also helped launch ‘UBS and Society’, an initiative bringing together the bank’s sustainable investing and social impact offerings, and led a global program sourcing financial solutions to support the Sustainable Development Goals. She has spent the last decade advising social enterprises in Asia, Africa and the US and is passionate about connecting early stage entrepreneurs with the resources and capital to succeed and scale. She has a Masters in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business and now lives in Oakland, CA. An avid adventurer and music lover she is often off exploring the outdoors of Northern California or seeking out live music.
finance & operations manager
Tami brings almost a decade of venture capital finance and ops management experience to the team and is motivated by building a more sustainable world on both a local and global scale. Her background includes positions at Base Ventures, Google, First Republic Bank, and Claremont Creek Ventures and she has a Bachelor’s in English Lit from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). An active community member, Tami has also spent a number of years volunteering in the Bay Area at non-profits such as The Crucible, Berkeley Humane and currently holds a board seat at Alameda Point Collaborative. On any given weekend you can find her enjoying the local craft beer scene or running in the redwoods with her fiance.