EITP Episode 32: Enabling genius with Activate's Cyrus Wadia
The Activate Fellowship offers scientist-entrepreneurs two years of salary and an entire community of support to build out their ideas--and doesn't take equity.
This week on the Everybody in the Pool podcast (Apple | Spotify | Website), I’m talking with the new CEO of Activate, the nonprofit fellowship set up to fund the smartest people they can find who are building game-changing companies.
Now, that might not sound very different from the job of various other investors I’ve had on the show, but there are a couple of key differences. First: Activate is a nonprofit, and it doesn’t take equity in the companies it funds—there’s no ownership stake and no expectation that the company will go on to become a unicorn and return 10 or 100 or 1000 times their money.
Second, the actual companies aren’t totally the point. Every investor knows their founder might pivot, but Cyrus told me the goal at Activate is to make sure they’re finding and funding individuals who change the game no matter where they end up.
On climate, we're competing against the clock. … I'm making an argument that society benefits from science-fluent leaders in positions of power.
I think that's basically what this comes down to. Here's my question, is the future of our planet in the hands of the right people and you know, people we can trust to begin making different choices? Do they have the resolve to do more than just abate, but to bend this curve down?
These are systemic challenges and most of our leaders are very focused inward on their institution or their role in this. And I think that's wrong, and I don't think it's going fast enough for us if we continue in that mindset.
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