Managing the rise of general artificial intelligence. Achieving true decarbonization in time to stop the worst effects of climate change. Keeping critical computing systems — and by extension, the infrastructure that keeps society humming — secure from next-generation cybersecurity threats.
These are only three of the huge challenges facing humanity. They’re also massive business opportunities for entrepreneurs with the vision and technical know-how to develop solutions at scale.
The work those entrepreneurs do wouldn’t be possible without support from legions of investors who share their vision and values — and who’re willing to place up their very own money to bring solutions to life.
Some of those investors are household names, or near it. You’ve probably heard of Sergey Brin, needless to say. But most of them work under the radar, out of view of most people. Well-known in investor circles though they is perhaps, you wouldn’t look twice in the event that they passed you within the grocery aisle.
Their stories deserve telling all the identical. Here’s what five of probably the most ambitious are working on right away.
1. Sky Dayton
Sky Dayton made his name (and his first fortune) as a dial-up web pioneer. He founded EarthLink, which web users of a certain age will little doubt remember, and eventually scaled the corporate into the United States’ biggest dial-up web provider.
Dayton later made big bets on the longer term of WiFi and smartphones, but his days as an in-the-trenches founder seem like behind him. Now, he’s known in disruptor circles as one of the crucial revolutionary, out-of-the-box investors and advisors around. He’s involved with promising startups in personal aviation (yes, air taxis will probably be a thing ultimately) and next-generation flight simulation, together with barely more conventional e-commerce and structured data plays.
2. Craig Venter
Craig Venter shot to fame as a key member of the team that sequenced the primary human genome. With a biotech background and a researcher’s meticulous, low-key demeanor, he’s not the primary person you’d imagine because the face of revolutionary medicine. But he leveraged his success within the lab to construct support for his Human Longevity startup, which offers personalized health solutions and eventually goals to radically lengthen human lifespans.
3. Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin will at all times be referred to as certainly one of Google’s cofounders. He’s still involved with the corporate, now referred to as Alphabet, but not in any of its core businesses. Instead, he’s using a portion of Alphabet’s considerable revenue stream — together with loads of his own money — to fund a grab-bag of speculative “moonshots” that would transform the best way we live, work, and recreate.
Not all of those moonshots have been successful. Google’s biotech record is mixed at best, and its exciting Project Loon effort to bring high-speed web to hard-to-reach locales (including disaster-hit cities and rural areas) was quietly shelved amid technical challenges. But Brin has the drive and resources to realize real breakthroughs, so stay tuned.
4. Larry Fink
Larry Fink is the chairman and chief executive of Blackrock, the private equity behemoth. He’s a household name within the finance industry.
He’s also the face of ESG (environmental, social, governance) investing, which rewards corporations that do right by their workforces, customers, and the planet. ESG has sparked a political backlash within the United States, to the purpose that Fink has stopped using the term in public, however the cat is out of the bag.
Many competing private equity firms (and independent investors) now incorporate ESG logic into their process. That’s accelerating the transition to more people- and planet-friendly technologies, especially within the sustainability and clean energy spaces.
5. Peter Diamandis
Peter Diamandis is the driving force behind the X Prize, which is widely credited with jumpstarting the industrial spaceflight industry back within the 2000s. That alone qualifies him as a forward thinker.
But Diamandis’ real long-term value add might be his work with Singularity University, where he’s executive chairman. Singularity University is an accelerator hub for disruptive technology, with special give attention to what its backers (and a growing variety of tech investors) consider is a looming artificial intelligence explosion. Even as for-profit entrants like OpenAI make public breakthroughs, Singularity University stands to play a giant role in a world where truly intelligent AI systems are accessible to all.
The Future Is Waiting
These five investors are doing greater than most to tug the longer term forward into the current. They’re working on among the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced. They consider that we have now the facility to resolve these challenges with real, scalable solutions that employ existing and soon-to-exist technologies.
They have numerous capital at their disposal. But given the size at which they’re working, it’s not enough. They need assistance from like-minded founders, investors, and allies. Because the longer term can’t will itself into existence — that’s our job.