Updated February 11, 2023
Better Venture

We want to thank, with all our hearts, everyone—over 80 entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers—who spoke to us so openly.

It was heartwarming that whomever we approached, they were willing to share their ideas and insights.* While coordinating calendars between up to six incredibly busy people across multiple time zones wasn’t always simple and took effort and goodwill, we made it work collectively. Thank you everyone for believing in the common cause and pushing forward.

A special thanks obviously goes to the team at Holloway; we went from what Johannes thought looked like a scam message on LinkedIn (there are lots of those in this world), to hours and hours spent talking to our phenomenal editors Rachel and Carolyn with lots of freedom, and input from Holloway CEO Josh. Without your support and belief in our unlikely coupling and project, this wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts—also for having such patience with us! A very special thank you also to Eana, who helped us with all the transcriptions forming the basis for the interviews—this book wouldn’t have been possible without you!

Lastly, we also want to say a big thank you to our families. For Erika, supporting five children, parents, and a house renovation while dealing with COVID-19, doing a PhD, and running a startup, this was likely one of the toughest periods in her life. For Johannes, Rebecca’s endless patience with late-night and weekend work, and loud interview calls over months (while building her own company) was quintessential—thank you! A lot of effort and love has gone into this project and we hope it can inspire at least some people to push for a more diverse, equitable, and profitable funding ecosystem.

Railways and Whaling Aren’t Where VC Started6 minutes, 2 links

In an examination of important historical texts relating to the transoceanic spice and tea trades, the transatlantic slave trade, and slave owner compensation payments and their uses, we have been able to piece together an evidence-based account that traces venture capital back to the transatlantic slave trade, while identifying direct links between the regimes and practices, methods, customs, and traditions developed by enslavers, ship captains, and their financiers and how the venture capital and high-growth entrepreneurial industries still operate today.

We’ve split this historical retrospective between two chapters, one on the East India Company, and one on slavery and America’s industrial rise. This included work from scholars such as Eric Williams and Joseph Inikori, the New York Times podcast series 1619, and discussions with Professor Nick Draper of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery established at University College London, and Professor Terry Irwin of the Transition Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

important We do not profess to be historians. While corroborated through the academic literature, this data in no way claims to be a complete examination of the transatlantic slave trade, nor the many horrors within or following it. Dates are generalized by century rather than by decade in some cases, for example.

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