Even the slightest glimmer of optimism may go a long way during times of uncertainty, and in today’s environment, we hope that the rising tide of impact investing will get stronger.
Impact investing was on the rise prior to global lockdowns and stay-at-home directives. Investors’ reaction to the virus appears to have turned even more attention and focus to human health. That’s a nice thing. Human health is an important aspect of sustainability.
But all of the unprecedented difficulties of the global virus, pollution, cancer, and climate change stem from the same underlying source: a lack of vision to face the unavoidable future before it arrives, as well as a lack of responsive action. Given this, impact investing has become a more potent imperative than ever before.
And, at the moment, Innovation Endeavors emerges to be at the forefront. Based in California, the venture capital firm focuses on transformational technologies and emergent ecosystems for a new world.
Before getting into their philosophy on investing, let’s go through a quick introduction about them.
When the Giants Get on Earth for Super Evolution
In 2010, Eric Schmidt (former Google CEO) and Dror Berman established venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors, with a method that centers on three core principles: seeking moonshot thinking, trying new things, and being passionately curious.
Eric Schmidt, who has spent decades in Silicon Valley, is frequently tapped for his thoughts on the future of technology and how the latest disruptive discoveries in fields such as artificial intelligence may impact the world.
Yet he’s quick to highlight that it’s the people behind the technology who create the difference. This is an idea that he acknowledges is frequently repeated yet still somehow overlooked. Schmidt’s philanthropy efforts are heavily focused on developing young talent into tomorrow’s creators and leaders.
According to Schmidt and Berman, when they first began the firm, they focused on security and information technology startups, many of which were based in Israel, as well as larger bets like Uber and SoFi. Schmidt was the sole investor at first.
As the decade continued, their focus shifted to the latter—companies that used new technology and platforms to create goods that could not have been envisioned before.
Berman began organizing a series of Curiosity Camp retreats in the Santa Cruz highlands. “The idea there was to bring together some of the smartest people in the world and brainstorm new ideas,” Berman explains.
Schmidt described the festivities as Spartan affairs in which individuals turn off their cell phones. “This is actual Boy Scout camping; it’s not glamping,” Schmidt, whose Burning Man skills honor many merit badges, said.
Eventually, the pair decided to concentrate on businesses that ride on a phenomenon they call “the Super Evolution.” It’s a catchphrase for the current predicament, in which meta-platforms create more platforms.
Starting with microprocessors, we’ve seen how low-cost storage, high-speed communications, supply-chain delivery, artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, and other developments may be used to create new types of enterprises.
When applied to a field like biology, the meta-platform created by the total of those breakthroughs has the potential to be transformative, speeding up research, revolutionizing diagnosis, and uncovering novel cures.
The capital firm is in a unique position to effect significant change. At this point, Innovation endeavors can help by sparking additional growth, assisting entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to reality, and assisting visionary creators with the proper concepts.
The Backer Fosters Moonshot Visions for the Future
The firm’s investment thesis revolves around identifying and backing visionary entrepreneurs who are building game-changing technologies and solutions in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, healthcare, transportation, and cybersecurity.
Innovation Endeavors collaborates with teams of technologists, dubbed Agents of Change, to reinvent and transform industries using data, advanced computation, and engineering.
Innovation Endeavors assists entrepreneurs by proactively establishing new industry ecosystems comprised of Fortune 500 corporations, academics, entrepreneurs, and other industry leaders. The capital focuses on early-stage investments and has contributed significantly to firms such as Uber, SoFi, CropX, and Yotpo.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security, the internet of things (IoT), and digital health are among the fields in which the funder invests.
Innovation Endeavors enjoys collaborating with daring teams working on ground-breaking concepts. They discover that today’s businesses are fundamentally different. Businesses begin with a mission in mind, aiming to tackle large problems that we all face.
“They are multidisciplinary, bringing together the world’s best physicists, computer scientists, roboticists, mathematicians, biologists, engineers, and others required to solve those challenges. Furthermore, they are ambitious, building quickly evolving full-stack solutions that aim to replace incumbents and reinvent industries,” said Dror Berman.
This backer evolved as a capital to form a partnership that can best help such businesses. They put together a strong technical team that was supplemented by an exceptional community from all relevant technical and functional fields. Most significantly, they established a collaborative culture that encourages everyone to collaborate closely in order to support its founders.
All the offers above could make an appeal to entrepreneurs who want to be hand in hand with the capital firm. However, not all the talents could pass the door and nap a million dollars. If you want to get money from this firm, the next part is for you.
The Process of Translating Thoughts to Abundance
When it comes to the investing phase, the most usual things for funds are deals ranging from $10 million to $50 million. Innovation Endeavors operates on a 16-percentage point lower average lead investment than the other organizations.
When Innovation Endeavors invests, the usual startup value ranges between $100 and $500 million dollars. The year with the most fund departures was 2019.
The year with the most fund activity was 2016. In terms of real fund results, this VC pledges to exit 7 percentage points less frequently than comparable organizations. Every year, the fund is often involved in 13-24 transactions.
The fund’s usual purpose is to invest in rounds with 5-6 participants. Startups are frequently financed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Morado Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners, notwithstanding the Innovation Endeavors.
Lightspeed Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, and Founders Fund are significant sponsors for the fund’s investment in the same round. Group 11, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and GV typically acquire funds in subsequent rounds.
Furthermore, a startup must be at least 2-3 years old to get funding from the fund. There is a match between the country of its foundation and the country of its most frequent investments for the fund – the United States.
Among the portfolio startups’ founders, the fund has no clear preference. If a firm has 5 or more founders, the chances of it being funded are slim.
Initially, the capital firm was looking around for companies with breakthrough ideas and moonshot vision. However, as technological growth accelerates, the Earth is on the brink of exhaustion. That’s the driving force behind its shift to environmental solutions.
The New Green Transition Takes Flight
“We did not have a focus on sustainable agriculture to begin with,” said Dror Berman. “Our mission has been to enable the next generation of companies.”
The investment firm is dedicated to investing in businesses that will allow humans and ecosystems to thrive on a healthy planet. It will take ambitious work to restructure sectors entrenched in the physical world, but they are confident it can be done.
It’s one of the first investments in this transition made as part of Innovation’s participation in Farm 2050, a cross-industry collaboration with companies ranging from fertilizer maker Dupont to search engine giant Google to supply chain management software company Flextronics.
The partnership’s goal is to increase farm productivity by 70% by 2050 in order to meet the worldwide demand for food from an estimated 11 billion people by that time. The collaboration began at the end of 2014.
The backer has had the opportunity of supporting amazing entrepreneurs who have built revolutionary firms in these locations over the previous decade. Here are a few examples: Planet permits earth observation, Blue River Technology eliminates agricultural pesticides, Afresh reduces food waste, and Plotlogic makes mining more sustainable.
One major tenet of their belief is that climate change affects practically every element of our lives and economies.
As a result, rather than seeing climate as a unique vertical, the firm sees it as a persistent, horizontal, underlying trend in practically every industry they touch – manufacturing (supply chain, materials), transportation, agriculture, food, construction, and structures. As a result, they anticipate climate tech will be broadly market-defining, similar to how mobile or data were in previous generations of innovation.
And they’re only getting started. The next decade will be pivotal in terms of climate change. Fortunately, as Bill Gates pointed out, we consistently underestimate what human creativity and hustle can accomplish in ten years.
Aside from climate change, AI is a big topic these days because many strong tools have been created, and Innovation Endeavors cannot afford to be left out. In truth, the firm has been present for some time.
Innovation Endeavors in A Match for AI Supremacy
Eric Schmidt was more determined than ever in 2022 to persuade federal decision-makers to speed up, and not just when it came to purchasing more software for the Defense Department.
Schmidt wants the government to put in place his broad strategy to combat what he sees as an existential threat to democracy presented by China’s AI plans, an endeavor that could also benefit his own commercial AI interests.
At the same time, Schmidt’s venture capital business, Innovation Endeavors, has invested in startups that have obtained multimillion-dollar federal contracts.
Some of these investments and contracts were made between 2016 and 2021, while Schmidt chaired two major government programs, the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board and the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI).
Today, Schmidt is one of the most powerful private-sector voices, spreading a feeling of urgency that the United States is losing the struggle for AI superiority to China, and laying the basis for a bonanza of government money for AI software. He is also one of the most notable investors in the AI industry.
Schmidt stands to gain from the spread of his message. According to data provided to Protocol by research firm CB Insights, he has invested more than $2 billion in AI-focused firms.
To counter China’s AI capabilities, the NSCAI urged the federal government to prioritize AI and other emerging technologies at the Defense Department and to more than double yearly non-defense funding for AI research and development to $32 billion by 2026.
According to CB Insights statistics, Innovation Endeavors participated in fundraising rounds worth at least $150 million for military AI software vendor Rebellion Defense in 2019 and 2021. While Schmidt led the NSCAI in 2020, Rebellion was selected to win up to $950 million in US contracts.
Citrine Informatics, a firm that utilizes AI to identify new chemicals and materials, has received money from Innovation Endeavors in funding rounds totaling roughly $40 million in 2016, 2019, and 2020.
Innovation Endeavors also has tied to encryption AI company Duality Technologies, which was awarded contracts from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency while Schmidt chaired the now-defunct National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence — including one worth $14.5 million in 2021.
In 2019, Team8, a cybersecurity company incubator partially backed by Innovation Endeavors, participated in a $16 million fundraising round in Duality Technologies.
“We have a national, bipartisan priority to win in establishing technology platforms for the globe that we invent, drive, and make money from,” Schmidt, whose representatives denied requests for interviews for this story, stated at the September 2022 SCSP session.
That’s all about the strategy of the capital firm in recent years. However, if we talk about a specific backer, we can’t forget to mention their track record. And for Innovation Endeavors, they have an amazing one.
The Ardent Vision Creates Abundance Later
Innovation Endeavors has an impressive track record of investments. With a total of 224 investments made, the firm has been actively supporting innovative companies in various sectors.
Their most recent investment was on Feb 23, 2023, when Earthly Technologies, a company working on sustainability solutions, raised $6.5 million in funding.
In addition to their regular investments, Innovation Endeavors has made 26 diversity investments. These investments aim to promote diversity and inclusion in the tech industry by supporting underrepresented founders and companies with diverse leadership.
Their most recent diversity investment was on May 5, 2022, when FutureProof Technologies, a company focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, raised $6.5 million.
As a venture capital firm, Innovation Endeavors has also seen successful exits from portfolio companies. With a total of 42 exits, the firm has a history of backing startups that achieve notable outcomes.
Some of their most notable exits include Uber, the ride-hailing giant; Getaround, a car-sharing platform; and SoFi, a personal finance company.
Innovation Endeavors has successfully raised substantial funds to support their investment activities. With a total of $863.5 million raised across three funds, the firm has secured significant capital to fuel their mission of investing in transformative technologies. Their latest fund, Innovation Endeavors IV LP, was announced on Oct 8, 2021, and successfully raised a total of $500 million.
The firm manages $1.5 billion and is headquartered in three major regions of innovation: Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, and New York City.
Because of the underlying platforms that are being constructed now, progress will be accelerated during the next ten years. Technology platforms generate new platform prospects for new businesses, new applications, and enormous riches. They also founded five of America’s most valued corporations.
And Innovation Endeavors is playing a vital role in aiding these businesses through difficult times. We’ve had an incredible decade, but they’re only getting started. They must work harder to leave a better world for future generations.