Federico Speziali

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Hi Kyle, thanks a lot for your thoughtful comments. I think you highlighted some of the key assumptions this program hinges on. Here are some thoughts on the points you mentioned.

  1. I think you're correct in saying that idea generation in the for-profit sector is more efficient than in the nonprofit sector, as feedback loops are both shorter and stronger. In fact, we don't plan to do a lot of research into the specific ideas, at least in the first instance, but rather support participants in ideation and validation. The idea you start with seems to be regarded as less important in this space (ideas are cheap, as the saying goes) and companies will pivot in their quest for product-market fit. 

    One of the main value add of the current incubation program, which applies to this one as well, is matching participants with a talented, complementary and value-aligned co-founder. This would probably be pretty hard for a single person to do, going through thousands of applications, picking the top 15 or so and spending 4-5 weeks working with them to find the best match. The co-founders are often regarded as the chief ingredient of a startup, and I think CE has a solid know-how in this domain. Moreover, a lot of incubators look for projects/companies a bit further down the line (post-cofounder and post-idea), and this program aims to fill the gap between zero and this stage.
  2. I think both paths you are describing are plausible, and notably, the second one of convincing entrepreneurs to donate has already been validated by Founders Pledge in a sense. Creating successful entrepreneurs might not be easy for sure, but convincing people to buy into effective donations might be more challenging than what people expect. Founders Pledge did mention that it is hard to change what people care about, and according to their website, only about a quarter of the donations by their members go to what we would call effective charities.

    One key advantage of working with EAs or EA-adjacent people at this early stage is that we could expect considerably higher pledged percentages and donation effectiveness. Of course, we need to balance this with the lower number of companies of this approach compared to the Founders Pledge on, but I think both approaches have their merits.
  3. Yes, 40% might sound a bitoptimistic, at least in the first instance. But I don’t think it is totally unrealistic that we can optimize both the selection process and the program for what YC is looking for and that we can have a substantially higher conversion ratio than the base rate. The CE vetting process is very selective and usually only about 1% get through, which already applies a lot of filtering. Moreover, YC is only one of many incubators, and if a company doesn't make it into YC, it might qualify for other incubators.

    Indeed, I think you are right that by adding constraints to the ideas we are considering, we are somewhat reducing our chances. However, by looking at the list of YC's top companies, not a lot struck me as blatantly net negative. My sense is that most of those companies have a neutral direct impact (using the EA definition of impact), and some even have plausible positive flow-through effects (like Wave). Of course, assessing flow-through effects is pretty hard, so all this is to be taken with a grain of salt.

There you have it, here are some thoughts. I hope that they can shed some light on some of the rationales. This program is definitely hits-based, but I don’t dislike our chances and I think we have a pretty good shot. And thanks for your support!


Hi Mariella, thanks for your comment. Indeed a lot of organizations use Benevity as donation matching provider. In some cases, we saw regranting orgs as GiveWell inclued in the list of companies eligible for donation matching. But if it is not the case, it might be possible to ask the company to add orgs to the list.

Hi Pat, thanks for your feedback, we will keep that in mind for future posts. ;)

Hi David, thanks for sharing, indeed not all companies match donations to all charities. This means that in some cases EA orgs might not be included in the list of  charities that are eligible for matching.

Thanks Pat, I will notify the developer (although I am not sure the tool was designed to work on mobile)

Hi Larks, thanks for your comment. Indeed the amounts shown are the total possible match, and the color coding is to add an additional layer of information. So e.g. if the amount shown is 100'000 USD with a ratio of 2:1, it means that if you donate 50'000 USD, the company matches 50'000 USD x 2 = 100'000 USD for a total of 150'000 USD (donation + matching). This is how it generally works, I hope this can help clarify things a bit.

Thanks Ula! Indeed we think it is a very cost-effective way for EA working professionals to multiply their impact and build some career capital in the process.

Hi Sean, thanks for your comment and your feedback. I think you are correct on both accounts, more data would definitely increase our confidence in the results even further and the distribution has a high variance due to its heavy tailed nature (which is not uncommon when looking at donations data).  Good idea also on doing statistical tests to compare distributions.

Hi Jack, thanks for your comment.  2021 was a smaller-scale pilot for HIP and we worked primarily with EAs at companies that were already in our network as well as with EAs/companies that approached us for assistance. For 2022 we hope to scale up and support more EA working professionals in running fundraising events.

Hi Nathan, indeed the scarcity of EA jobs creates a lot of frustration within the EA community as eloquently expressed by this post, and quoting the 2019 EA Survey:

“Two of the top four significant barriers to becoming more involved in EA were not enough job opportunities that seemed like a good fit for me (29%) and too hard to get an EA job (23%).”

We believe that HIP as a career path can help with that because it can allow a large number of people to have an impact.

Don’t hesitate to book a slot for a chat, we would love to hear more about your experience and see if we can be of any help.

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