The 81 Collection

A Founder's Fund for Hard Industries

a. Hello!

The change in hard industries is just getting started, and there is a 15:1 funding gap for hard businesses versus soft ones.

We are a collection of entrepreneurs who brought our offline industries online.

Sewing Machine

B.  Why?



Problem

We built companies in hard industries, and it was lonely when we started. Most early-stage venture capitalists said our industries were too capital intensive, low margin, and difficult to scale. We were outsiders.

Now, we can look back at the $20 billion of value created and the 10,000 employees whose financial trajectories we altered. The very qualities that made our businesses unattractive at seed stage are now our greatest strengths.

Our entrenched assets are barriers to entry, our revenue is inextricably tied to our customer’s daily needs, and our loyal employees who once made $20 per hour now make $100K per year. We chose the harder path, built the right kind of businesses, and improved America.

A decade later, not much has changed in early stage venture capital. Nearly everyone is seeking the next asset-light, employee-light, cloud-based unicorn.

Solution

We back pre-seed and seed stage companies transforming boring trades, hard work, unpleasant spaces, and structural inequity. These start-ups still attract less funding at lower valuations.

But we know firsthand that exceptional humans can unknot these hard industries. And now is the perfect time to do it. Recent shocks in raw inputs, supply chains, and labor have cracked America’s infrastructure. California is out of water, a generation can’t afford a home, and our skilled tradespeople are in their fifties.

Software can help fix America’s supply-side imbalance, and hardware, automation, and AI can really help. High-growth and high-margin start-ups can now overtake low-growth and low-margin industries.

Today, 19% of the U.S. GDP attracts more than 50% of venture capital activity. 81% of the U.S. GDP is under-invested. Trillions of dollars of value are locked up in serious, unsolved problems across the 81%.

Tackle a real, very difficult problem. We need you to. We need you to do it now. We need you to create value socially and financially. Know that we exist to lighten your load.

C. Theses

1. Boring Services

"Too Low Margin"

The world doesn't need another social media app.

We still need to figure out recycling, improve nursing homes, and give small businesses a chance.

2. Hard Work

"Too Capital Intensive"

Blue collar industries have been largely left out of the digital revolution.

Computing power can now materially impact machines. We've made smarter ovens and better fitness equipment, but there are many more machines who need to learn.

3. Unpleasant Spaces

"Too Resistant to Change"

The metaverse is nice, but 58% of Americans still work in physical spaces. Plus, we all need a home. A real one.

IoT and automation can significantly improve our physical world.

4. Inequitable Structures

"Too Much Red Tape"

Many great Americans are still blocked from opportunities.

COVID-19 cracked legacy infrastructure in education, government, and social assistance. Entrepreneurs can now exploit these cracks to democratize access.

e. The Collective

Our operator-investor community

Coming Soon

We have a unique fund structure that catalyzes this community.

F. Contact us

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