Posted by: Charlie | March 3, 2010

The Thrust Fund

Do you ever rely on a friend? Would you ever bet on them? Thats what three promising entrepreneurs behind the Thrust Fund are proposing to kickstart their next ventures. The deal is simple: $600,000 for 6% of their life’s earnings. That’s an average of $250,000/year before retirement age.

Startups traditionally pinch pennies, weary of handing control over to a majority stakeholder. The Thrust Fund could alter this dynamic, and perhaps spur greater innovation. Instead of putting risky capital into startups with low success rates, investors could instead fund individuals. We all learned in gradeschool that Edison failed hundreds of times before getting the lightbulb to shine. If investors were bought into the individual, a little failure could be just a learning along the path to great success. Entrepreneurs behind the biggest tech companies (Google, Microsoft, Facebook) prototyped in risk free college environments. The Thrust Fund could help build in a cushion that rarely exists post graduation (or drop out).

If only the method didn’t resemble indentured servitude. There will be no broken bones for broke bank accounts. Yes their are buyout clauses assuring that no one will “accidentally” fall down the stairs if their venture fails.

Venture Beat covered the complete story today to prepare for heated debate this evening. Kjerstin Erickson of FORGEwill go head to head with an entrepreneur, investor, and a skeptical peer (former editor of DGW). Based on her experience with FORGE there is little doubt in the crowd that she is poised for future success, but at what expense?

For now I’m excited to watch the heated debate over at The Hub in the Bay. Surely we’ll be seeing more on the subject in the coming days. I certainly give a hand to the innovators and risk takers willing to put their earnings on the line for the next best thing. A tilt of the hat to Kjerstin, Jon and Saul of the Thrust Fund.

After all life’s sentence into entrepreneurship may not be such a bad thing for the individual or society. I’ll put $1m on red…


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