Photo credit: Pixabay | @EliasSch
“[The innovation] came from out of the blue. Sometimes good ideas spring from having a sense of where you want to go, of having a vision of the next level of products.” – Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder, writing in his book Let My People Go Surfing.
Yvon Chouinard was an avid climber and Patagonia was initially founded to solve climbing equipment problems or challenges he and his climbing community faced. His connection with nature drove Patagonia’s strong social and environmental beliefs and standards. But Bonnie Foley-Wong, CEO of Pique Ventures, can also imagine how being one with nature frequently and regularly had its meditative qualities, possibly enabling Chouinard to make room in his mind to let in new ideas.
It’s not only the Yvon Chouinard quote above that reminds her that ideas come from out of the blue. Whether it’s Ray Dalio and transcendental meditation or Jason Voss’ intuitive investing or the Weekly Circle and 2-week Forest Circle meditations described in The Diamond Cutter, many people from all walks of life encourage a rest or meditation practice of some sort to enable us to connect with our true wisdom.
What followed the above quote was a story about Chouinard walking around a sporting goods trade show looking at football jerseys made of polypropylene and polyester fabrics. It got Bonnie thinking – what are the equivalent of trade shows for service-based and knowledge-based businesses like a venture capital firm? When do we examine the fabric of venture capital? What are the ways we could or should innovate in the investment industry? Let’s make room for some new ideas in venture capital.
Chouinard also wrote about how Patagonia was “the first company to teach the outdoor community, through essays in [their] catalog, the concept of layering.” One of the things Bonnie has really enjoyed about her work at Pique Ventures are the conversations she has had with people who are relatively new to impact investing. Serving customers by showing them something new feels wonderfully impactful. It does get her thinking about what new techniques we could teach investors. What does venture capital look like when it takes care of people and planet? What are the equivalent of layering concepts in venture capital? And if we don’t have a mail-order catalog where investors can check out the latest in venture funds, how can emerging managers reach them? These are questions worth meditating on.
Bonnie thinks venture capital that takes care of communities is flexible, delivers blended returns (financial and impact, long-term, direct and indirect), and improves access to essential resources for many.
She loves layering and believes diversity is multi-layered and it isn’t simply the same-old, incumbent model of venture capital, but with women at the helm of companies. Diversity must lead to inclusive environments where people from different backgrounds and experiences, with a shared set of values, feel they belong. There should be room for diversity in all aspects of business including within the workforce, supply chain, customers, end users of technology, and cap table.
Bonnie believes that decision-making is multi-layered. To achieve the impact we want and outcomes that are different from what we now experience from venture capital, we must integrate information from analysis, emotion, body, and intuition in order to be able to experience and understand impact – through the eyes, hearts, and bodies of others.
Pique Ventures stewards capital on behalf of investors. We take care of a portion of their investment portfolio, combined with capital from other investors, and invest it carefully in promising entrepreneurs that are overlooked or need a champion like us in their corner. Investing in early-stage companies is high risk, but failing to invest in solutions that solve the challenges we face is an even bigger risk.
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About Pique Ventures
Pique Ventures is an impact investment and management company. Pique Ventures enables a diverse community of investors to pursue integrated investing. Integrated Investing is a proprietary investment decision-making methodology to help create a better world and was developed specifically to evaluate impact and early-stage ventures.