SOMA Magazine February/March 2017 : Page 37

together around our love for startups solving city problems, think: transportation, energy delivery, and etc. Previously, we both had transformative experiences working for high-growth, urban-focused startups. I was an early employee at Fundrise, a leading crowd-investment platform for commercial real estate, and Julie at Revolution Foods, a healthy school meal provider that has served over 200 million meals across the U.S. to date. What are some of the most innovative companies you’ve funded and what strides and success have they had thus far? To date, Julie and I have funded startups developing products and services that have the potential to touch the lives of mil-lions – and hopefully even billions -of city dwellers. For example, in 2014 we were one of the earliest investors in Chariot, the commuter shuttle service that crowdsources its routes from the community. Excitingly, they were acquired by Ford Motor Company in September 2016 to build out their Smart Mobility offering. We invest in early stage startups, and we work with them to flesh out their business models… We recently invested in two water-focused startups, Valor Water Analytics and APANA. Valor is a big data solution for water utilities to help them with financial and conservation planning. And APANA is a hardware and software IoT company that helps industrial users like Costco better manage their water use. Are there any major urban issues that you think tech can’t solve alone? And which other sectors should participate in those solutions? Tech is not a panacea – it can’t solve every major urban problem by itself. To effectively tackle our hairiest community challenges like affordable housing and homelessness, we need a toolkit of solutions – from the tech, nonprofit, government and corporate sectors. In particular, we need strong political leadership to bring together these constituencies around a shared vision for our cities. That said, technology can absolutely support these larger efforts. A great example is HandUp, a crowdfunding plat-form for the homeless and the organizations that support the homeless. This SoMa-based startup is partnering with Mayor Ed Lee’s office to better connect individuals in need with services and support. 37

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