The Unreasonable Investor Day 1, July 19, brought together people from all over the world to advance companies with socially conscious projects. The Unreasonable Staff was so unreasonable that they changed the rules on us in the middle of the event.
To ensure that real actions were taking place they encouraged all of the investors to commit right then and there. If investors weren’t willing to commit capital immediately, maybe they had contacts, time to help create a better business plan, or a new idea for a revenue stream. Investors rolled up their sleeves, got involved, and great ideas came out of the day. Some investors even committed capital right there on the spot!
The only disappointment of the day was that we noticed there were more people from Africa in the room than from Denver. Investors came from Canada, California, DC, and other distant places. Come on Denver! Can’t you be unreasonable too?
The Unreasonable Institute, headed by Tyler Hartung focuses on ventures that might not produce the 10X ROI that investors hold dear. Instead, there is a trade-off. The ventures have the shared goal of solving a social or ecological problem and with a little luck will produce a smaller, but still respectful ROI.
From what I saw, some of the companies are ignoring that small ROI stigma and aiming for big growth. One company that stood out was Conserve India. Conserve India gives a living wage, safety standards, and health insurance to the trash pickers of India. They produce a patented plastic sheeting that is made into very attractive handbags, sachels, wallets, and courier bags. They have big plans to expand production and sales. They are also planning to create an R&D segment of the company focused on creating more uses for the patented recycled plastic sheeting.
Another company that I met with is Lili Dairy in Sri Lanka. Lili Dairies uses crowd sourcing to produce the milk they they turn into fresh mozzarella cheese. Many families participate by maintaining 1-3 cows per family. Lili Dairies collects the milk two times daily using a hub and spoke method. The product is a farm fresh cheese that is used primarily for pizza, which is a popular and growing food choice in Sri Lanka.
We wish all of the Unreasonable Institute Fellows luck as they pursue funding and success with their unreasonable ventures!