Vincent van der Holst

411 karmaJoined Mar 2022Working (6-15 years)Amsterdam, Netherlands



Founder of BOAS, a reverse auction vintage fashion platform that donates all profits to effective charities (with a focus on saving kids' lives). 

Our vision is to move as many of the world's trillions in profits to effective organisations through Profit for Good businesses (where charities receive profits instead of shareholders). 

BOAS' mission is to save one million kids' lives, by creating the biggest used fashion platform in Europe and using its profits to fund effective charities. 

We're fundraising, so if you can help, send me an email at vin at boas . co

We're almost always looking for interns, so if you're interested please reach out. 

Thanks, Vin

How I can help others

Entrepreneurship, profit for good, economics, (paid) marketing and recruitment and hiring. I can also give feedback on startup pitches and ideas. 


I just saw they are. For those interested, I provided comments to the red teaming working document. 

Disclaimer: I sometimes work with Brad and I founded a PFG so I am biased towards thinking PFG's can work. 

There's some more red teaming in the comments of a quick take I did about the fundraising round that the PFG I founded is going through. That's here.

We also did a red teaming session on Profit for Good at EAGxRotterdam. This was filmed but unfortunately never released (I think the video person literally said they lost the recording :/). 

Generally the biggest reasons against Profit for Good, based on my experience of founding one called BOAS:
- Raising capital is (at least currently) harder. It's hard for me to put a number on it but I'd say it's at least 3 times less likely you'll receive funding. 
- You will raise less capital and slower than the competition so they might outcompete. 
- Legal issues. Depending on the country there's not set company structure for this. 
- Lack of capital means you cannot retain talent (based on my experience getting talent is easier as a PFG) as easily as having deep venture capital funded pockets. 
- Lack of understanding of stakeholders: generally a lot of people assume PFG's cannot scale because they donate profits. It's important people understand PFG's can reinvest profits just like regular for-profits. 
- Status quo bias: just because people think it hasn't been done (it has, but people don't generally know that) they assume it cannot be done, even when presented with arguments (e.g. the successful PFG's already out there and the research on them). 
- Some people argue that people are selfish and founders start companies to get rich, so they wouldn't want to start/run PFG's. Based on our founder pipeline it suggests the opposite. It was full of people who could make more money doing less work, and many applied because we were a PFG, not in spite of. 

I would quickly add to what Nick said by saying that donating to charities that save kids' lives (e.g. AMF) likely improves all of your bullets.
- Families become happier if they receive the health interventions they need (and they almost certainly don't rate themselves 4/10 on the happiness scale, your quoting the wrong thing as Nick mentioned)
- I think it's also unfair to single out the Burkina Faso alone, when you donate to these effective charities they cover dozens of countries, most with far lower FGM rates
- You say they will spend their lives in 'extreme boredom', but your link doesn't really state any evidence for that

It's true that the lives we can save might still be ones full of hardship, but the evidence suggests that they will be happier and healthier lives. The counterfactual is death, and even in your bullets (that seem a bunch of pick and choose to bolster your argument) I don't see strong evidence that suggests we shouldn't be funding these charities. 

Thanks! I'm multiplying the quoted numbers in the OP. 

Just to be clear, I'm not anti-overhead (often the opposite), and 4% is low. @calebp I wrongfully thought this was just EAIF, not all funds, so thank you for making me aware of my mistake. It's interesting to learn that most of the operational cost goes to the grant making side and I'm happy it's on that side. Thanks and good luck with the funds! 

So you estimate 2.4M in donations this year and 700K operations? How was that ratio last year? And how much do you expect to decrease operations if donations remain low/decline? 

How are we making sure unsatisfied people fill in (EA) surveys?

I was reading survey outcomes and I was wondering if it wasn't filled in, for whatever reason, by people who are more satisfied than the average, because satisfied people are more likely to fill in surveys than unsatisfied people. 

I'm reasoning from own experience so the intuition might be wrong. But I'm often less likely to fill in forms for movements/companies/events when I'm unsatisfied. For example: I never fill out my landlord's satisfaction survey because I know their service is not good and am not hopeful the survey will change anything about that (or they even do the survey for anything else than regulation forcing them to do it). When someone actively asks me to do a satisfaction survey, I'm much more likely to do it for them if I'm satisfied than when I'm not satisfied. I wonder if this generalises. I can also see others being more likely to fill out a survey when they are unsatisfied, and I'm unsure whether there is a known bias for this kind of thing (maybe it has been researched). 

All clear Gage, thanks! Our application is in and I'll send the opportunity to some who I think should apply. I'll also apply as a member. I believe I'll have poor judgement on some areas (and be clear about that) but might add something meaningful to others like business models, economic viability and marketing.

Really happy to see a more diversified funding landscape and I think this is very important. EA funds and Open Phil do a great job, but only a dozen people making most significant grants is likely going to lead to biases and knowledge gaps. It's good the group of people evaluating projects will expand and I like the strategy to focus on what's not being funded by EA funds and Open Phil. 

I want to apply with our organisation (declined by EAIF multiple times, likely too small for Open Phil funding), but I also want to contribute as a member and evaluate projects where I might have some knowledge, especially in marketing, (for-profit) entrepreneurship and economy (areas where I believe I can bring most value comparative to current grantmakers).

Would that be a possible conflict of interest? 

I'm going to apply in the upcoming week to be a member and apply with our org, but please decline my membership if you think there could be a conflict of interest. FYI I obviously don't want a part in our own grant process. 

I also know organisations that were not funded by current EA grantmakers where I thought they should. What's your policy on being a member and encouraging these orgs to apply? Part of me would argue I would be above average in evaluating these projects because I know their work and founders, but I could also argue I might be too biased and should refrain from evaluating (but encouraging applications and independent evaluations). Like many on this forum, I'm concerned by the amount of people/orgs getting funded by current grant makers that are (in)directly linked to these organisations and people, but in some cases I do see that might lead to better decisions. I'm very interested to know what people think and your policies on potential conflicts of interest. 

[EDIT]: I now see that there is a minimum of '$100,000 per year minimum of expected donations'. But in this post I see 'and philanthropic advisors each moving $100,000 or more per year to meta charities'. Just to confirm, do you need to donate 100K a year to the fund to be an advisor or do you need to move (of other people's money) 100K a year?

FYI it's now live on manifund (I was encouraged to push it live there):

Replies in bold.

Celebrities are very often willing to put their face on anything for money. There's literally millions of examples of that. 

Yes, but it'd still be difficult for a for-profit salad dressing company to fully clone the Newman endorsement. I think the Newman endorsement is synergistic with Newman Own's PFG status -- the consumer understands that Newman is endorsing because he really stands behind Newman's Own and its mission, not because someone is lining his pockets. It's like the difference between repeated favorable press coverage in the New York Times and buying advertisements in the New York Times -- they aren't really the same thing. Moreover, I think whoever is hawking Kraft would face some unfavorable comparisons to Newman, and would thus demand a higher fee than in the counterfactual where Newman doesn't exist. I agree with all of this. 

I don't think my main concern is "bad PR" per se. It's my view that companies with characteristics similar to BOAS often run at a loss and/or need to re-invest almost all their profits into the business for an extended period of time. I think that is particularly likely where established market players will try to muscle it out, and a competitor could arise with easy access to VC money (both analyzed upthread). The PFG value proposition is much less legible if the company has been around several years and little has been donated to charity. So the crux here is how much time consumers will allow BOAS to start actually delivering meaningful sums to AMF, and how quickly BOAS can do that. My priors are skeptical, but I don't claim expertise in evaluating specific business plans. We thought about this a lot. We allow voluntary checkout donations (no cost to us) which is already generating donations. We can also work with donation matching from a philanthropist. Suppose you're a philanthropist that donates to AMF already, it would be interesting to do that partly through BOAS (e.g. for every purchase we match a €5 donation), where it wouldn't be riskier or costlier, but you have the benefit of helping BOAS grow, with the potential to make large sums for AMF. We're also transparent about needing money to grow so our donations will be relatively low. Transparency, donation matching and voluntary donations add up to amounts that seem significant to customers (e.g. a €10.000 total charity donation might seem substantial when you've only had €1 million in sales). Many PFGs, in my opinion, donate too much too early and hurt their future profit/donation potential. It might be because their customers demand it, but I don't have data or knowledge on that. If customers demand earlier/higher donations that hurt growth, that might be an argument against PFG. On the whole we'll have to see what the value of better employees and more loyal customers is as opposed to the negative value lower odds of raising funding and the potential necessity to donate.

Companies like Bosch were -- i assume -- already profitable when they transitioned to PFG, so they could immediately show (rather than tell) their charitable plans. Part of my point about Newman was that his involvement may have provided reassurance to early-stage consumers that this was eventually going to work out and monies would eventually flow to charities. So neither would give me a strong sense of how long consumers would give BOAS a "PFG boost" without big donations flowing to AMF. The successful large PFG's, with the exception of Newman's Own indeed pivoted to PFG when they had the cashflow/profits to do so. Based on what I've learnt from BOAS and talking to other smaller PFG's I haven't seen issues where customers would stop believing in PFGs. They either do well and donate some money to charities (in our case, voluntary donations and hopefully donation matching) or they die for various reasons (possibly sometimes because they're not funded because of their PFG model). 

Incidentally, I own a Bosch dishwasher, which is not a minor purchase (~$1000), and had zero idea that they were predominately PFG (92%). They don't seem to be advertising on that. AFAIK no one I talked to knew about Bosch and they don't seem to advertise with it. Employees of Bosch sometimes know but not always, and the region where they spend their profits does seem aware. I'm interested to know why Bosch decided to not actively promote their PFG status, where usually PFGs do. The same goes for Carl Zeiss. I believe it's because they either don't know the value and/or want to be modest families who rather give in silence. In Europe it's not common to be vocal for philanthropists about their giving. 

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