Strong Returns Come From Strong Roots

One of the most important things about a person or organization is its roots.

The roots are the central source of life.

For a tree or plant they provide nourishment and stability.

For a person or organization, they provide a sense of origin and purpose.

Some of my roots come from Odessa, Russia.

My grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1903 — originally landing in New York City (as a child) and eventually working his way down to Washington, D.C., where he started a produce stand. He grew the business enough to open a grocery store, above which, he and my grandma lived and raised my father and his two brothers. His story is remarkable, and one of the key ingredients that gave me the courage to start Collaborative Fund.

Photo of my grandfather, Jack Shapiro, in Shapiro Bros. Grocery in Washington D.C.

Shifting gears, Sequoia Capital recently created a website highlighting some of their Limited Partners and how the proceeds from Sequoia’s success has gone towards furthering education, protecting the environment, scientific research and several other great causes. In a lot of ways, a fund’s Limited Partners are its roots. The makeup of the Limited Partners helps shape the style, focus and goals of the fund.

You can check out the website here:

While looking at Sequoia’s website, I found myself envisioning what Collaborative Fund’s version would look like. I felt inspired to write about our roots and specifically highlight some of our investors.

To begin, I’d like to focus on Ray Chambers and Doug Smith. I first met them while at GOOD Magazine. Ray co-founded Wesray Capital Corporation in 1982, where he pioneered private equity and leveraged buyout investments. Wesray was extremely successful, producing a return on equity in excess of 700% a year.

Here’s Ray speaking at Google Zeitgeist:

In 2009, Ray invested in GOOD Magazine and through that transaction, I met Doug Smith. Doug has worked with Ray since the early Wesray days and continues to do so to this day.

They were two of my first phone calls when I decided to start Collaborative Fund. In addition to investing, I was able to convince Doug to play a more formal role, and since day one he has been by my side advising on the way we raise funds, structure investments, communicate with our LPs, and run our firm.

Their support has been among the strongest roots in our budding organization.

In subsequent weeks, we will highlight other Limited Partners. Each one of them brings a very different set of experiences that contributes to our strong foundation and which we believe will allow us to grow and flourish.

Stay tuned!

Discuss on our subreddit.