Jaime interviews Danielle Strachman and Michael Gibson, the innovative founders of 1517 Fund. The 1517 Fund is a venture capital firm with a twist - it specializes in funding young founders, specifically 18-25 year-old entrepreneurs (and some even younger). Beyond the basic business of funding start-ups, Danielle and Michael are revolutionaries, and perhaps even insurrectionists. In 1517, Martin Luther questioned and protested the Catholic church's selling of "indulgences," pieces of paper that, reportedly, would speed up admission into heaven. Today, the 1517 Fund questions and protests the selling of college diplomas, pieces of paper that, reportedly, speed up admission into financial fortune and a good life.
My summary of the primary points made by Danielle and Michael:
That some of the character traits they are looking for in young company founders are grit, perseverance, creativity, and social skills, specifically how to build a team, get investors on board, and how to sell a product. Can they connect with other people to bring in investors and customers. They are looking for self-starters outside of schools, even someone who once started a lemonade stand.
Danielle mentioned that she looks at the narrative. The founder’s own, unique story and what that says about him or her.
There is something to be said about the 18-25 year-old age group. Maybe there’s innovative magic at that time!
Michael said that he has come to loathe applications. Perhaps there is something we don’t see there, but time spent with people results in pattern recognition. You start seeing what you intuit will work – or not work.
Maybe the point that I have pondered most since we talked was Michael’s analogy regarding his college degree – that in 1991 he needed a phone with a landline, but he doesn’t need it in 2017. And, in the past, a college diploma was considered by many to be a prerequisite for professional success, but that may no longer always be the case.