Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and venture capitalist behind numerous businesses, including Juniper Networks, is looking for "black swans."
He is placing more than $1 billion of his v.c. fund assets into breakout opportunities within the world of impact investing.
He calls these potentially world-changing businesses, black swans-ideas with the potential for sudden jumps in technology that promise huge environmental benefits, easy scalability and rapid payback.
"I am only interested in technologies that have a 90% chance of failure but, if they do succeed, would change the infrastructure of society in some radical way," Khosla told The Economist magazine.
Interestingly, Khosla isn't betting on "green" or socially responsible investments, per se; he is going for it through impact investments. "I wanted to see if I could have a social impact," he says in the article, "Betting on Green." "I quickly realized that any non-profit activity I could do would be no more than a drop in the ocean. Most non-profit organizations are completely ineffective. That's when I decided that I needed to look for scalable solutions, which meant self-propagating solutions, which meant capitalist solutions."
Khosla's track record is to be envied, and so his investment strategy should be taken seriously.
There should be a place for impact investing in all portfolios.
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