How did you come to CANOPY from WeWork?
Well we’ve grown to love this vertical of real-estate tech, and at the time we had been considering a few new spaces to call home, for our SF office. Ironically, CANOPY was pitching its concept through a peer fund called “Bullpen” — which we’re a part of with a few other VCs. We got an early peek at the Jackson Square site this way and fell in love with the space.
What is it about this space that works for you?
When we came in to hear the pitch, we walked in and said, “this is something else. The vibe is unique. The light. The colors. The design. The flow — and the energy…” We became investors, dropped the anchor here and continually feel inspired for the future of CANOPY moving forward. The indoor-and-outdoor experience is a nice feature that really works well for us.
Can you speak to the community factor here?
For each of us individually and as a group, we really appreciate the diversity of membership here — be it defined by age range, male-to-female ratio or the simple fact that it’s not all tech. You have real architects here and a healthy amount of creatives overall. We also love the cultural offering that they curate regularly. The talk series and events that they have are compelling and engaging — similar to what you would expect from TED or Summit.
The scope of your venture capital is broad. What is it that sets Structure apart from the rest?
People look at us as impact funders, or social-impact investors, because we invest in things that create change, but we’re still a traditional venture fund — so we seek potential in a very special way. The values that we see in our founders tend to speak louder than your typical valuation. We’re not sector specific, because we’re more people specific. We’re of course mindful of the tech chops that they wield, but we care more so for the values that they work with as founders. Do they have the right leadership skills? Will they instill patience and courage into their teams, but also empathy, transparency and humility? These things are really important to us. So part of the thought around Structure is that in order to create systemic change in corporate America, it is critical for us to invest in companies that will instill this kind of mindset into the foundations of their organizations. The fund invests almost in a myriad of spaces with a mission to reduce waste by putting under-utilized assets — such as people, spaces, and vehicles — to work.
Asking Jacob Shea about another key difference, he mentions “We created a camp called Venture Boost Camp, along with A.T. Kearney, a management consulting agency. We select a variety of companies from our fund who are paired with several consultants from ATK. The company founders identify a problem to tackle and drill in with ATK to come up with solutions. We’ve seen much success at this camp as we have a large ecosystem of partners that are willing to step in to be part of a company’s journey. The camp takes place during a weekend twice a year in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and London.”
Our mission is to reduce waste but our mantra is “Investing in Values not just Valuations” Intentional Integrity…is where we can all begin says Jillian Manus.
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