Systemic Venture Building

Metabolic Ventures has published its first white paper explaining what the organization views as key principles and approaches for building new companies that have a transformative impact on society.

Systemic Venture Building starts by explaining why a new approach to social entrepreneurship is needed if we are to transition to a truly sustainable economy. The paper then outlines a series of approaches to building systemic ventures. Finally, the paper outlines some of the first steps Metabolic Ventures will take in developing its own venture building programs.

The essence of the philosophy outlined in the paper can be described as follows:

The essence of the philosophy outlined in the paper can be described as follows:

Challenge as a starting point

Without a full and comprehensive understanding of the challenge, no idea is likely to be good enough to create the desired impact or to succeed where other solutions have failed.

Systems analysis as a tool

Systems thinking is utilized as a central tool in order to uncover the underlying dynamics of a problem and craft meaningful interventions.

Systemic impact as the goal

Making the world “a little bit better” is insufficient. The goal with any venture emerging from an impact-focused process should be transformational change.

Enterprise as a vehicle

A venture and its business model(s) are in service of achieving a larger mission. In extreme cases, if that mission is accomplished, there’s no longer a reason for the venture to exist.

Money as a resource

Like blood to a body, or oil to an engine, financial gain is not an end, but a means. Ventures should achieve financial autonomy and their business model should enable them to properly reinvest and reach the desired scale. But for-profit objectives are effectively seen as barbaric.

The paper is meant to spark conversations with and between investors, philanthropies, entrepreneurs, and governments. We encourage interested readers to reach out to us to have a conversation, whether it’s critiquing what we’ve laid out in this whitepaper, exploring its implications in specific contexts, or helping to build out both theory and practice.