- Seth is a long-time advocate and campaigner, who turned to technology and investment to solve the world’s biggest problems around sustainability, food, and the digital divide.
- A graduate of Y Combinator, Seth was named twice to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Social Entrepreneurship.
- Seth believes business will be about more than just profit (more here), and Fifty Years has supported a range of startups shaping the world for the better — from microbe engineering for sustainable chemistry, to small satellites for low-cost global internet coverage, to clean meat.
This podcast is hosted by Benjamin Joffe, Partner at SOSV, a global early stage fund focused on deep tech. SOSV runs multiple accelerator programs including HAX (intelligent hardware) and IndieBio (life sciences). SOSV and Fifty Years have co-invested in several companies mentioned in this podcast such as Memphis Meats (clean meat pioneer, raised $181m), Geltor (synthetic human collagen) and Catalog DNA.
In this episode, Seth talks about:
- What prompted him to create a fund focused on the world’s biggest problems, and how its name relates to Winston Churchill’s prophetic 1931 essay titled Fifty Years Hence.
- How Silicon Valley needs to go back to its roots: focusing on technology to lift all sectors — including food, industry and healthcare — to the digital age.
- Why biology is having its ‘Internet time’.
- The challenges PhDs face when they become founders to translate their research.
- How magnetic, resourceful, resilient doers are founders with high potential.
- His approach to opportunistic investments in deep tech.
- Using publication research for initial technical due diligence in new domains.
- The benefits of portfolio network effects.
- Finally, we discuss the affects of the Covid-19 pandemic on venture, and the silver lining of how such an intense global events might give rise to major scientific advances in a compressed timeframe.
- Fifty Years Hence, a 1931 essay by Winston Churchill
- The Fifty Years portfolio companies tackling Covid-19
- Memphis Meats: clean meat pioneer, raised $181m.
- Geltor: synthetic human collagen.
- Catalog DNA: DNA-based data storage.
- Astranis: smaller & low-cost satellites for global internet coverage.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (7 Seasons on Netflix)
- Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter