Invest Like You Give A Damn

When launching Collaborative Fund in 2010, I wrote:

Consumers are increasingly making decisions based on culture and values. And businesses that recognize this trend are winning.

This is not about being altruistic or philanthropic. This is about living a better life. Wearing TOMS Shoes is as much a statement of “status” as it is comfort, price or philanthropy. The things you wear, the places you go, the email address you use, and what you drive are all reflections of your values.

Today, I believe this is even more true and important. Where you work, how you spend your time, and what you build have an ever-greater impact on our world. AI is enabling us to totally re-envision massive industries such as food, health, and money. Meanwhile, we need to find new and innovative ways to rebuild our economy in a more sustainable way using new energy sources, materials, and increasing productivity.

We recently closed the application window for our next cohort of Associates and had tremendous interest, receiving over 500 applications. This is why I am excited to share that we’ve re-imagined Collaborative’s Associate Program with the goal of making it the very best Associate Program in the world.

In addition to contributing to Collaborative Fund, the goal of the program is to change the trajectory of your professional career in ways that are unique and highly unlikely to replicate at other organizations.

We do this in three ways:

1. Financially:

In addition to salary + annual bonus, Associates are eligible to participate in upside from active funds we are deploying. We are not aware of other firms offering this level of participation and gives Associates “skin in the game” as an alumni of the firm.

2. Hands-On Experience:

We understand the importance of practical experience in shaping a successful career in venture capital. Associates have the autonomy to identify promising startups, conduct thorough due diligence, and present their findings to the Partners. This hands-on experience not only hones their investment skills but also empowers them to make meaningful contributions to the growth and success of the firms we support. BONUS: You will have the opportunity to source, diligence, and lead at least one investment from our Shared Future Fund during your program.

3. Access to Industry Experts:

Collaborative Fund recognizes that learning from industry veterans is crucial for professional growth. In addition to the Collaborative team, Associates have the privilege of spending time with our network of Collaborative advisors, many of whom are former General Partners from top tier firms. This unique access allows Associates to learn directly from seasoned investors, gaining insights, mentorship, and invaluable perspectives on successful investment strategies. We will hold regular mentorship sessions with luminary investors and entrepreneurs, including:

Unlike traditional programs that relegate Associates to supporting roles, we offer a unique opportunity to be intimately involved in investment decision making. From day one, Associates have a seat at the table, actively participating in our weekly Partner meetings, where they engage in thoughtful discussions and contribute to the evaluation and selection of potential investments.

Collaborative Fund’s forward-thinking approach extends to our organizational structure. We have made the deliberate decision to create a flat investment team, consisting solely of Associates and Partners, eliminating layers in between. By embracing this flat structure, we foster a collaborative and agile environment that encourages open communication, rapid decision-making, and close partnerships with entrepreneurs. This approach not only benefits our Associates but also strengthens the support and resources we provide to the visionary founders we back.

Our commitment to Associates goes beyond the two-year program. We believe in cultivating long-term relationships and providing tangible employment opportunities within Collab Fund’s portfolio companies. As an Associate, you will have the chance to explore potential roles within the exciting startups we invest in, leveraging the experience and network you’ve built during your time with us. This post-program pathway enables Associates to continue their entrepreneurial journey and make a lasting impact in the companies they join.

Our current Associates: Chris Dowd & Tatiana Brunvall


Chris joined from Planet A and Dalus Capital after time at Google (including and the Obama White House. In addition, he was a Fulbright Scholar. Tatiana joined us from Nomura Greentech where she had a particular focus on renewable energy value chain and agtech. In addition, she received a JD from NYU.

Our decision to invest in our Associate program reflects our unwavering commitment to fostering talent and driving meaningful change in the venture capital industry. We are dedicated to providing Associates with an unparalleled experience, empowering them to become influential investment professionals, and enabling them to make a lasting impact on the startups we support. We are excited about the future of our Associate program and the opportunities it holds for aspiring venture capitalists. Together, we will shape the future of investing and entrepreneurship and we can’t wait to welcome our two newest team members in the coming weeks!

**The title of this blog post was inspired by GOOD Magazine’s first Issue! ✌️ @Casey Caplowe