GOOD 100: Meet Joshua To, Helping Startups With Space and a Boost
Joshua To is the founder and Managing Director of Hattery, a venture capital fund and creative lab that applies design, UI, and engineering resources, and offers legal and financial support to help fledgling companies get started. He also founded BRUTE LABS, which focuses on sustainable social entrepreneurship by using design and technology, and incorporating open source solutions that are accessible to everyone. Projects include building wells in Ghana, promoting exercise in youth in San Francisco, and rebuilding schools in Haiti.
To’s philosophy at Hattery is that founders should be able to just focus on bringing their products to market, while letting Hattery provide the type of support, infrastructure, and development resources normally only afforded to more mature companies.
To combat a common challenge start ups face—finding space—Hattery’s vision is to create an “innovation hostel,” a shared space or network of donated spaces, where entrepreneurs can live, work, and network. To do this, Hattery aims to partner with city governments and property owners on Innovation Hives, a network of short-term live/work hubs for young entrepreneurs.
Close proximity would foment technological innovation and allow ideas and influence to coalesce, creating what To terms “beautiful collisions”—a cross-pollination of talent and energy that can spark the next technological breakthrough.
This year, Hattery will be working with WellDone, a nonprofit that provides wireless, GSM enabled well water meters to communities in the developing world; Bright Funds, a new approach to individual charitable contributions that allows people to create charitable “mutual funds” and give online; and Engine Advocacy, a homegrown political advocacy coalition to give technology startups a voice in government, and help lawmakers learn about tech innovation.
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