Announcing Effective Altruism Ventures

byKerry_Vaughan4y27th Feb 201538 comments

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Today we’re launching Effective Altruism Ventures, a project of CEA’s Effective Altruism Outreach initiative. The goal of Effective Altruism Ventures is to test the theory that we can stimulate the creation of new high impact organizations by simply signaling that funding is available.

 

GiveWell has argued in multiple blog posts that interesting projects often do not appear until a major funder signals an interest in funding a project. This aligns with my experience running the Technology and Innovation department at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and with YCombinator’s recently announced Requests for Startups. We designed Effective Altruism Ventures to provide this signal for EA-aligned projects.

 

For Projects

New projects can apply and go through a systematic evaluation process (the details of which are available here). We will introduce projects that pass the evaluation to our network of individual and institutional funders and help find new funders if needed. We also provide strategic guidance, recruiting help and more. We are both cause-neutral and neutral on organization type (e.g. nonprofit, for-profit, benefit corporation etc.) Applications are rolling, but we devote more time to evaluations at set intervals throughout the year. The next evaluation sprint will be May 1, so interested projects should apply by then.

To get a better sense of our evaluation process and of Effective Altruism Ventures itself, we completed an evaluation of ourselves using the EA Ventures evaluation framework. You can read the evaluation here. The results of our evaluation indicate that there is insufficient evidence to recommend making donations directly to Effective Altruism Ventures at this time. This is consistent with our current plan of running the project on a volunteer basis for 3-6 months before fundraising to support operational costs.

For Funders

For funders Effective Altruism Ventures is a risk-free way of gaining access to higher quality projects. We will learn about your funding priorities and then introduce you to vetted projects that meet your priorities. If you don’t like a project you are free to decline to fund it. We simply ask that you provide us with your reasons so we can improve our evaluation procedure.


We also help improve funder coordination for new projects. This helps funders get a clearer sense of whether their funding is fungible with that of other EA funders.


Want to get involved?

If you’re interested in getting involved in Effective Altruism Ventures, we’re looking for the following:

  • Projects, especially those that are working in areas that are important, tractable and uncrowded.

  • Funders who are ideologically aligned with EA and are interested in seeing our deal flow.

  • Experts in fields of interest that are willing to help us evaluate projects.

  • Entrepreneurs without their own project, but who are interested in working on one of the projects we recommend.

  • Partners who have strong networks and want to work closely with us to evaluation projects, find funders and source new projects.

 

If you fall into one of the above groups and would like to chat more about Effective Altruism Ventures, feel free to schedule time to chat here or email me at kerry@eaventures.org.