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👀 The Bulletin #11: Agtech, inclusive design, and words of advice from our Investment Committee's Deb Mills-Scofield
Welcome to our first newsletter of this semester! We have a lot of new updates coming this semester including conversations with our IC members, snippets from our VC curriculum for analysts-in-training, and more content about industries/trends we are reading about. Today, we are excited to introduce IC member & mentoring maven Deb Mills-Scofield. As we are venture further into this spring semester, I’m sure many of us are probably stressed about similar things - what we’re going to concentrate in, how we’re going to keep up with our classes, how we can prioritize our mental health, figuring out an internship for the summer, and so much more. For all that, I think Deb offers some lovely advice.
Q: How should I approach deciding what I want to concentrate in?
A: It is so much more valuable to think about the general critical thinking skills you are getting out of your degree than what you specifically choose to concentrate in. Your concentration is very much not your destiny: so many people never end up doing what they concentrate in. At the end of the day, it is truly something you just have to declare, and you can change it next semester to whatever you are feeling then - you don’t need to feel locked in!
Q: Is it too late to get an internship? How do I approach the overwhelming stress of finding something?
A: It is absolutely not too late: in fact most internships open up in the spring. It may seem that because the big 3 - banks, consulting, and tech - recruit in the fall that most people get jobs then but that is really not the case. Things really do have a way of working out - and looking back, I stressed about a lot of things that I didn’t need to stress over. Just explore, and use the Brown alumni network. We love talking to you guys.
What We're Consuming in Venture:
Articles/Books we've enjoyed
Last year was a record year for agtech, with nearly $5 billion invested in the sector in 440 funding deals to VC-backed startups
One of those main reasons the sector finally seems to have taken root with investors is the changing buying habits of millennials in particular and people in general when it comes to their food’s taste, nutrition and sustainability - consumers have driven the change
Additionally due to COVID, many countries are seeking to increase the food they produce to improve food security and cut down on the effects of supply chain disruption through the use of vertical farming along with other agtech technology
The crypto market is already confronting a contradiction: the prices of NFTs – digital assets hosted on a blockchain – are rising, even as cryptocurrencies fall dramatically
This article explores several theories that seek to explain why this phenomena occurs, including everything from the theory that NFTs reprice themselves higher whenever ether dips or the fact that NFTs attract a different kind of investor & are in a bubble
Rondo Energy, which raised $22 million in venture funding, wants to use renewable electricity when it is abundant to store as heat for industrial applications - essentially weaning the industrial sector off fossil fuels.
Benjamin Evans, the Inclusive Design Lead at Airbnb, gives insight in this podcast about how inclusive design is helping tackle biases in digital product design. They interrogate how to tell a compelling story accessible to all users, creating a more inclusive experience.
Active in design & engineering spaces, Deb noted that in regards to inclusive design, “There’s a stereotype for who needs it vs. who doesn’t, but at the end of the day it forces designers to be more innovative and creative to address a user’s needs, which goes to benefit everyone.”
This Tim Ferris episode features John List, a famous economist who worked at Uber and Lyft and talks a lot about how to incentivize people. He’s a very engaging and smart guy who approaches the world of business and startups from a more academic perspective that is worth a listen!
People to Follow
Smart people whose Twitter feeds we like to stalk
Christine Hall (@ChristineMHall): Reporter at TechCrunch. Follow for headlines about upcoming raises in B2B SaaS, e-commerce, and foodtech.
Jason Calacanis (@Jason): First-round investor in Uber, and has invested in ChartBeat, Gowalla, Evernote, and more than 60 other startups
Because venture capital memes are a very real thing.
When your idea is just that good
the elite ensemble is never supposed to let you down but alas …
Van Wickle Ventures Updates
VWV Portfolio News Update
VWV is excited to announce our investments in Medicircle and Nutrimedy! Check out our recent blog posts about our conviction in these teams & their businesses:
Thanks for tuning in <3 See y’all next time
- van wickle v