Flatten the Curve. Part 48. Source Here
It's getting crazier day by day now, so are you following the Boy Scout motto?
On this topic, Baden-Powell says: Remember your motto, "Be Prepared." Be prepared for accidents by learning beforehand what you ought to do in the different kinds that are likely to occur. Be prepared to do that thing the moment the accident does occur
. In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty
Why should you be prepared? Because TPTB have been preparing, that’s why.
June 12, 2014: The Guardian • Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements Source Here
Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. It seemed ludicrous back in 2014, didn't it? Inconceivable. Sure some preppers believed it, but they're always getting ready and nothing happened. Doomsday was always right around the corner, and then the next corner, and on and on. Televangelists have probably accused more politicians of being the antichrist than the number of politicians went to Epstein's Island.
But why would they be preparing for mass civil breakdown? Could it be the same reason as why the miltary is preparing for war, droughts and famines brought about by environmental collapse?
February 20, 2020: History Network • Here’s Why These Six Ancient Civilizations Mysteriously Collapsed. From the Maya to Greenland’s Vikings, check out six civilizations that seemingly disappeared without a trace. Source Here
All of these civilizations vanished because of some combination of exhausting their natural resources, drought, plauge, and the little ice age. Sound familiar? Don't tell me that the Rockefeller Foundation and BlackRock became environmentally aware out of a sense of obligation to the planet. They're setting the groundwork for what's coming down the pipe. This isn't about money anymore, this is about control and survival. Throw out the rulebook because the rules no longer apply.
Do you think the surveillance system is for your protection, or the protection of the state? Don't you think that an era of upcoming calamities will severely damage the communication networks, and thus the surveillance system? It might be prudent to consider that Starlink is being established to make the system redundant, so that they never lose track of the precious worker bees before they can be connected to the AI hive mind, right Elon? Neuralink, don't leave home without it.
But let's not forget about the wonderful world of the Internet of Things.
March 15, 2012 • More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them. Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an "Internet of Things" -- that is, wired devices -- at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm. "'Transformational' is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies," Petraeus enthused, "particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft." All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you're a "person of interest" to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the "smart home," you'd be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room's ambiance. "Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters -- all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing," Petraeus said, "the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing." Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices "change our notions of secrecy" and prompt a rethink of "our notions of identity and secrecy." All of which is true -- if convenient for a CIA director. The CIA has a lot of legal restrictions against spying on American citizens. But collecting ambient geolocation data from devices is a grayer area, especially after the 2008 carve-outs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Hardware manufacturers, it turns out, store a trove of geolocation data; and some legislators have grown alarmed at how easy it is for the government to track you through your phone or PlayStation. That's not the only data exploit intriguing Petraeus. He's interested in creating new online identities for his undercover spies -- and sweeping away the "digital footprints" of agents who suddenly need to vanish. "Proud parents document the arrival and growth of their future CIA officer in all forms of social media that the world can access for decades to come," Petraeus observed. "Moreover, we have to figure out how to create the digital footprint for new identities for some officers." Source Here
December 19, 2019: New York Times • THE DATA REVIEWED BY TIMES OPINION didn’t come from a telecom or giant tech company, nor did it come from a governmental surveillance operation. It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps. You’ve probably never heard of most of the companies — and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist’s office or a massage parlor. The Times and other news organizations have reported on smartphone tracking in the past. But never with a data set so large. Even still, this file represents just a small slice of what’s collected and sold every day by the location tracking industry — surveillance so omnipresent in our digital lives that it now seems impossible for anyone to avoid. It doesn’t take much imagination to conjure the powers such always-on surveillance can provide an authoritarian regime like China’s. Within America’s own representative democracy, citizens would surely rise up in outrage if the government attempted to mandate that every person above the age of 12 carry a tracking device that revealed their location 24 hours a day. Yet, in the decade since Apple’s App Store was created, Americans have, app by app, consented to just such a system run by private companies. Now, as the decade ends, tens of millions of Americans, including many children, find themselves carrying spies in their pockets during the day and leaving them beside their beds at night — even though the corporations that control their data are far less accountable than the government would be. Source Here
The IoT should be renamed to IoTT (Internet of Tracking Things), shouldn't it. But we can't have people figure out what's really happening, can we? It's a good thing that quantum computing isn't too close, isn’t it?
April 5, 2018: Global News • (Project Maven) Over 3,000 Google employees have a signed a petition in protest against the company’s involvement with a U.S. Department of Defense artificial intelligence (AI) project that studies imagery and could eventually be used to improve drone strikes in the battlefield. Source Here
December 12, 2019 • Palantir took over Project Maven defense contract after Google backed out. Source Here
December 29, 2020: Input • Palantir exec says its work is on par with the Manhattan Project. Comparing AI to most lethal weapon in human history isn’t comforting. SourceHere
August 14, 2020: Venture: • Google researchers use quantum computing to help improve image classification. Source Here
Hmmm. Maybe Apple will be for the little guy? They have always valued privacy rights, right?
October 2, 2013: Vice News • The hacktivist group Anonymous released a video statement with an accompanying Pastebin document claiming that there are definitive links between AuthenTec, the company that developed the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner, and the US government. Source Here
An apple a day helps the NSA. Or Google. Or Microsoft. Or Amazon. Take your pick from the basket, because dem Apple's are all the same. But at least we have fundamental rights, right? Foreign agent declaration not required
• No mention of foreign agent status is made in the Protect America Act of 2007. Under prior FISA rules, persons targeted for surveillance must have been declared as foreign agents before a FISA warrant would be accorded by the FISC court. 'Quasi-anti-terrorism law' for all-forms of intelligence collection
• Vastly marketed by U.S. federal and military agencies as a law to prevent terror attacks, the Protect America Act was actually a law focused on the 'acquisition' of desired intelligence information, of unspecified nature. The sole requirement is geolocation outside the United States at time of Directive invocation; pursuant to Authorization or Order invocation, surveillance Directives can be undertaken towards persons targeted for intelligence information gathering. Implementation of Directives can take place inside the United States or outside the United States. No criminal or terrorism investigation of the person need be in play at time of the Directive. All that need be required is that the target be related to an official desire for intelligence information gathering for actions on part of persons involved in surveillance to be granted full immunity from U.S. criminal or civil procedures, under Section 105B(l) of the Act. Removal of FISA Strictures from warrant authorization; warrants not required
• But the most striking aspect of the Protect America Act was the notation that any information gathering did not comprise electronic surveillance. This wording had the effect of removing FISA-related strictures from Protect America Act 2007-related Directives, serving to remove a number of protections for persons targeted, and requirements for persons working for U.S. intelligence agencies. The acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance
• The removal of the term electronic surveillance from any Protect America Act Directive implied that the FISC court approval was no longer required, as FISA warrants were no longer required. In the place of a warrant was a certification, made by U.S. intelligence officers, which was copied to the Court. In effect, the FISC became less of a court than a registry of pre-approved certifications.Certifications (in place of FISA warrants) were able to be levied ex post facto, in writing to the Court no more than 72 hours after it was made. The Attorney General was to transmit as soon as possible to the Court a sealed copy of the certification that would remain sealed unless the certification was needed to determine the legality of the acquisition.Source Here
Oh. FISA is basically a rubber stamp. And even if it the stage play wasn't pretending to follow the script, would it matter? Who could actually stop it at this point? The cat's out of the bag and Pandoras Box is open.
Controversial debates arose as the Protect America Act was published. Constitutional lawyers and civil liberties experts expressed concerns that this Act authorized massive, wide-ranging information gathering with no oversight. Whereas it placed much focus on communications, the Act allowed for information gathering of all shapes and forms. The ACLU called it the "Police America Act" – "authorized a massive surveillance dragnet", calling the blank-check oversight provisions "meaningless," and calling them a "phony court review of secret procedures."
So the surveillance state doesn't have checks and balances anymore. The state is preparing for Massive Civil Breakdown. They keep warning us about environmental collapse. Got it? Good. Let's keep on keeping on.
The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 created a single new district corporation governing the entire federal territory, called the District of Columbia, thus dissolving the three major political subdivisions of the District (Port of Georgetown, the City of Washington, and Washington County) and their governments. Source Here)
The first big leap in corporate personhood from holding mere property and contract rights to possessing more expansive rights was a claim that the Equal Protection Clause applied to corporations. One of the strangest twists in American constitutional law was the moment that corporations gained personhood under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It occurred in a case called Santa Clara County, and what was odd was that the Supreme Court did not really even decide the matter in the actual opinion. It only appeared in a footnote to the case. What we are likely to have at the conclusion of the Supreme Court term is corporations that are empowered to spend in American elections because of Bellotti and Citizens United; corporations that can make religious objections thanks to Hobby Lobby; and if Jesner turns out as badly as I predict, corporations will be able to aid and abet human rights violations abroad with impunity. Source Here "Having a corporation would allow people to put property into a collective ownership that could be held with perpetual existence," she says. "So it wouldn't be tied to any one person's lifespan, or subject necessarily to laws regarding inheriting property." Later on, in the United States and elsewhere, the advantages of incorporation were essential to efficient and secure economic development. Unlike partnerships, the corporation continued to exist even if a partner died; there was no unanimity required to do something; shareholders could not be sued individually, only the corporation as a whole, so investors only risked as much as they put into buying shares. Source Here
The way that the Arab Bank may get away with this alleged morally troubling behavior, even though it has a New York branch, is by reasserting the basic argument that was made in Nestle USA and Kiobel II: that the federal Alien Tort Statute was not intended to apply to corporations full stop. Given other cases in this area like Mohamad v. PLO, which held the word “individual” in the Torture Victim Protection Act means a natural person and does not impose any liability against organizations, the Arab Bank’s procorporate argument may well prevail. There are multiple federal Circuit Courts which have shot down the argument that corporations are immune from suit under the Alien Tort Statute. The lone outlier is the Second Circuit, which decided in 2010 that corporations are excused from suit in Kiobel I. This is the case that was appealed to the Supreme Court and became Kiobel II. Jesner v. Arab Bank was litigated in the Second Circuit. One question in Jesner was what exactly did Kiobel II do to Kiobel I. So far in the litigation, Jesner concluded that Kiobel I and its conclusion that corporations can’t be sued in federal court using the Alien Tort Statute remained the controlling law of the Second Circuit.
There's a reason people call lawyers snakes, it's because most of them speak with forked tounges. So the corporation isn't being held liable, but the shareholders can't be held liable either. That's too insane to even be called a Catch 22. We are literally being set up to have no recourse because there isn’t anybody who can be held responsible. Why is that important when I've been talking about the surveillance state?
July 14, 2020: The Intercept • Microsoft’s police surveillance services are often opaque because the company sells little in the way of its own policing products. It instead offers an array of “general purpose” Azure cloud services, such as machine learning and predictive analytics tools like Power BI (business intelligence) and Cognitive Services, which can be used by law enforcement agencies and surveillance vendors to build their own software or solutions. A rich array of Microsoft’s cloud-based offerings is on full display with a concept called “The Connected Officer.” Microsoft situates this concept as part of the Internet of Things, or IoT, in which gadgets are connected to online servers and thus made more useful. “The Connected Officer,” Microsoft has written, will “bring IoT to policing.” With the Internet of Things, physical objects are assigned unique identifiers and transfer data over networks in an automated fashion. If a police officer draws a gun from its holster, for example, a notification can be sent over the network to alert other officers there may be danger. Real Time Crime Centers could then locate the officer on a map and monitor the situation from a command and control center. Source Here
Uhm, I guess it's really is all connected, isn’t it?
June 18, 2020: The Guardian • How Target, Google, Bank of America and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations. More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says. Source Here
Long live the Military Industrial Techno Surveillance State. If you have nothing to hide, than you have nothing to worry about. Really? Are we still believing that line? Cause it's a load of crap. If we have nothing to worry about, then why are they worried enough to be implementing surveillance systems with corresponding units on the ground? Got your attention there, didn't I?
August 19, 2019: Big Think • Though the term "Orwellian" easily applies to such a technology, Michel's illuminating reporting touches something deeper. Numerous American cities have already been surveilled using these god-like cameras, including Gorgon Stare, a camera-enabled drone that can track individuals over a 50-square kilometer radius from 20,000 feet. Here's the real rub: the feature that allows users to pinch and zoom on Instagram is similar to what WAMI allows. Anything within those 50-square kilometers is now under the microscope. If this sounds like some futuristic tech, think again: Derivations of this camera system have been tested in numerous American cities. Say there is a big public protest. With this camera you can follow thousands of protesters back to their homes. Now you have a list of the home addresses of all the people involved in a political movement. If on their way home you witness them committing some crime—breaking a traffic regulation or frequenting a location that is known to be involved in the drug trade—you can use that surveillance data against them to essentially shut them up. That's why we have laws that prevent the use of surveillance technologies because it is human instinct to abuse them. That's why we need controls. Source Here
Want to know more about the Gorgon Stare? Flatten the Curve. Part 12. Source Here
Now, I'm not sure if you remember or know any Greek Mythology, but the Gorgons were three sisters, and one sister had Snakes on her head (she wasn't a lawyer) and she turned people to stone when she looked at them.
MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) is a directed-energy non-lethal weapon designed by WaveBand Corporation in 2003-2004 for temporary personnel incapacitation. The weapon is based on the microwave auditory effect resulting in a strong sound sensation in the human head when it is subject to certain kinds of pulsed/modulated microwave radiation. The developers claimed that through the combination of pulse parameters and pulse power, it is possible to raise the auditory sensation to a “discomfort” level, deterring personnel from entering a protected perimeter or, if necessary, temporarily incapacitating particular individuals. In 2005, Sierra Nevada Corporation acquired WaveBand Corporation.
Ok. Get it? The Gorgon eye in the sky stares at you while the Medusa makes you immobile. Not good, but at least it'll just freeze you in your tracks.
July 6, 2008: Gizmodo • The Sierra Nevada Corporation claimed this week that it is ready to begin production on the MEDUSA, a damned scary ray gun that uses the "microwave audio effect" to implant sounds and perhaps even specific messages inside people's heads. Short for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio, MEDUSA creates the audio effect with short microwave pulses. The pulses create a shockwave inside the skull that's detected by the ears, and basically makes you think you're going balls-to-the-wall batshit insane. Source Here
Uhm. And drive you insane.
July 26, 2008: Gizmodo • The MEDUSA crowd control ray gun we reported on earlier this month sounded like some pretty amazing-and downright scary-technology. Using the microwave auditory effect, the beam, in theory, would have put sounds and voice-like noises in your head, thereby driving you away from the area. Crowd control via voices in your head. Sounds cool. However, it turns out that the beam would actually kill you before any of that happy stuff started taking place, most likely by frying or cooking your brain inside your skull. Can you imagine if this thing made it out into the field? Awkward! Source Here
Annnnnnnndddddd it'll kill you.
Guys, they're prepared. They've been prepared. They're ready. Remember the Doomsday Bunkers? The military moving into Cheyenne Mountain? Deep Underground Military Bunkers? The rapid rolling out of 5G? BITCOIN and UBI so neatly inserted into our minds over the last five years? They've directly told us to have three months of supplies in our homes. 2020 isn't going to be an anomaly? It's the start of the collapse of our natural resources. Take a look on Reddit and all the posts about crazy weather. Cyanobacteria blooms killing dogs and people. Toxic Super Pollution caused by atmospheric inversions killing people. This isn’t normal, this is New Normal. And they know it. They've known it for a while. Let me show you one last thing before I wrap it up.
From the earliest Chinese dynasties to the present, the jade deposits most used were not only those of Khotan in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang but other parts of China as well, such as Lantian, Shaanxi.
Remember, words matter. Look at Gorgon Stare and Medusa. They don't randomly grab names out of a hat, or pick them because they think it sounds dystopian. They pick words for a reason.
July 7, 2017: The Warzone • There only appears to be one official news story on this exercise at all and it's available on the website of Air Mobility Command’s Eighteenth Air Force, situated at Joint Base Charleston. At the time of writing, a google shows that there were more than a half dozen more copies on other Air Force pages, as well as number of photographs. For some reason, someone appears to have taken these offline or otherwise broken all the links. Using Google to search the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, which is the main U.S. military's public affairs hub, brings up more broken links. Oh, and unless there's been some sort of mistake, JADE HELM actually stands for the amazingly obtuse Joint Assistance for Deployment Execution Homeland Eradication of Local Militants. A separate web search for this phrase does not turn up any other results. Source Here
Now, using an acronym that indicates training to Eradicate Local Militants seems pretty dumb. It may be used in that manner if environmental collapse triggers riots, but i don't think they would warn everyone ahead of time, do you? So I dug a little bit more. Joint Assistant for Development and Execution
(JADE) is a U.S. military system used for planning the deployment of military forces in crisis situations. The U.S. military developed this automated planning software system in order to expedite the creation of the detailed planning needed to deploy military forces for a military operation. JADE uses Artificial Intelligence
(AI) technology combining user input, a knowledge base of stored plans, and suggestions by the system to provide the ability to develop large-scale and complex plans in minimal time. JADE is a knowledge-based system that uses highly structured information that takes advantage of data hierarchies
. An official 2016 document approved for public release titled Human Systems Roadmap Review describes plans to create autonomous weapon systems that analyze social media and make decisions, including the use of lethal force, with minimal human involvement. This type of system is referred to as a Lethal Autonomous Weapon System (LAWS). The name "JADE" comes from the jade green color seen on the island of Oahu in Hawaii where the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is headquartered.
PACOM? Why isn't that command group responsible for the South China Sea?
Formerly known as United States Pacific Command
(USPACOM) since its inception, the command was renamed to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on 30 May 2018, in recognition of the greater emphasis on South Asia, especially India.
Now doesn't it look like Jade Helm is preparing for an invasion? And possibly insurrection later. Or at the same time? Or riots over WW3? Or food riots? And start thinking about why the laws are starting to exclude corporations? Then think about the mercenaries that are being contracted out by the government.
October 17, 2018: The Carolinan • In 2016, 75 percent of American forces were private contractors. In 2017, Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater, and Stephen Feinberg, head of Dyncorp, discussed plans for contractors completely taking over U.S. operations in Afghanistan. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it remains to be seen if the current administration will change its mind. Contractors are involved in almost every military task, such as intelligence analysis, logistics and training allied soldiers. Contractors are even involved in U.S. special ops missions. This is because contractors are essentially untraceable and unaccountable. Most are born in other countries; only 33 percent are registered U.S. citizens. Private military firms don’t have to report their actions to Congress, unlike the military or intelligence agencies. They also aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so private citizens and journalists aren’t allowed to access their internal documents. There are also no international laws to regulate private military firms. It’s been proven that many contractors are involved in illegal activities. The larger multinational companies sometimes hire local subcontractors. These contractors sometimes aren’t background-checked. A 2010 investigation by the Senate found that many subcontractors were linked to murders, kidnappings, bribery and anti-coalition activities. Some subcontractors even formed their own unlicensed mercenary groups after coalition forces leave. A 2010 House investigation showed evidence that the Department of Defense had hired local warlords for security services. In 2007, Blackwater contractors massacred 17 civilians. This eventually led Blackwater to being restructured and renamed as Academi. Source Here
Military Exercises. Private Defense Firms. No oversight. And it's all coming soon. Read more at Flatten the Curve. Part 20. Upcoming war and catastrophes. Source Here
Nah. I'm just fear mongering and Doomscrolling again.
Heads up and eyes open. Talk soon.
Jim Breyer, Mitch McConnell's brother-in-law, Facilitates Russia’s Takeover of Facebook through Yuri Milner submitted by
In 2005 Jim Breyer, a partner at Accel Partners, invested $1 million of his own money into Facebook and gained a seat on the board (1).
In Feb 2009 Jim Breyer visited Russia with a number of other Silicone Valley investors. While there, Yuri Milner, a Russian tech entrepreneur who founded DST with close ties to the Kremlin, hosted a dinner to cap the entire event (2). As one Moscow source put it:
DST has the backing of the big boys at the top in the Kremlin, which is why it will go from strength to strength (5)
Milner found out Breyer liked Impressionist art and took him to Russian’s Hermitage Museum to view Matisse paintings otherwise closed off to the public. Three months later Yuri Milner’s DST invested into Facebook at a bloated value. (2)
Mr Milner dismissed suggestions that at a valuation of $10bn he overpaid for his stake in Facebook, especially given that the social networking site has yet to prove it has turned to profit. (3)
it’s seen as a desperate and rather vulgar deal on the one hand—Milner buying a small stake in Facebook, valuing the entire company at $10 billion—and, on the other, Facebook debasing itself by taking Russian money. Russian money! In fact, it seems rather like a desperate deal for both parties (in the midst of the banking crisis, Facebook has only two other bidders for this round—and none from the top VC tier) (4)
By the end of 2009, DST would own 10% of Facebook. Later revealed by the Paradise Papers, DST’s investments into Facebook were financed by the Russian government through state-owned Gazprom. That’s right, in 2009 Russia owned 10% of Facebook. (6)
Soon after, the two continued to work together on other investments. Breyer introduced Milner to Groupon, and Milner helped Breyer’s Accel invest into Spotify (7). In 2010 an Accel representative joined a gaggle of Silicon Valley investors to Russia and signed a letter promising to invest into the country (8).
Jim Breyer and Rupert Murdoch
Then in Nov 2010 Jim Breyer invested into Artsy.net, run by Rupert Murdoch’s then-wife, Wendi Deng, and Russia oligarch Roman Abramovich’s then-wife, Dasha Zhukova. Jared Kushner’s brother, Josh, also invested in the fledgling company (1).
At the time Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation had a joint venture with the Russian mob-linked oligarch Boris Berezovsky, called LogoVaz News Corporation, that invested in Russian media (4). It was Berezovsky’s protege close to Putin, Roman Abramovich, who tied Berezovsky to the mob.
According to the Mirror Online, Abramovich paid Berezovsky tens, and even hundreds, of millions every year for "krysha", or mafia protection. (5)
In June 2011, Rupert Murdoch ended his foray into social media by selling Myspace to Justin Timberlake (2) and elected Jim Breyer to the board of News Corp (3).
Jim Breyer invests in Wickr with Erik Prince
In 2012 Breyer invested in a encrypted messenger app, Wickr. Other investors include Gilman Louie and Erik Prince. To understand the connection, we need to go back to 1987. Breyer, newly hired to Accel Partners, made his first investment with Louie’s video game company that owned the rights to the Soviet Union’s first video game export, Tetris (1).
Louie went off to become the founding CEO of the CIA-backed In-Q-Tel which invested in Palantir. Palantir’s founder, Peter Thiel, sat on the board of Facebook with Breyer (2)(3). On the board of In-Q-Tel is Buzzy Krongard (7), the man who helped Erik Prince’s Blackwater receive their first CIA contract, who also joined the board of Blackwater in 2007 (6).
Around that same time, 2012-2013, Prince met Vincent Tchenguiz, founder of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL (8), and was introduced to Cyrus Behbehani of Glencore, one of the purchasers of Rosneft stock detailed in the Steele Dossier (9). Cyrus Behbehani sat on the board of RusAl with Christophe Charlier, who is also Chairman of the board at Renaissance Capital (10), an early investor of DST (11).
Jim Breyer and Yuri Milner invest in Prismatic
That same year, 2012, Jim Breyer invested in Prismatic, a news aggregate app, with Yuri Milner.
Prismatic’s technology works by crawling Facebook, Twitter and the web (“anything with a URL”) to find news stories. It then uses machine learning to categorize them by Topic and Publication. Prismatic users follow these Topics and Publications, as well as Individuals and the algorithm then uses these preferences and user-activity signals to present a relevant Newsfeed. (1)
Sounds like the beginning of what could be a propaganda dissemination tool. That goes in-line with Yuri Milner’s vision of Social Media. Milner’s theory:
“Zuckerberg’s Law”: Every 12 to 18 months the amount of information being shared between people on the web doubles... Over time people will bypass more general websites such as Google in favor of sites built atop social networks where they can rely on friends’ opinions to figure out where to get the best fall handbag, how to change a smoke detector, or whether to vacation in Istanbul or Rome. “You will pick your network, and the network will filter everything for you,” Milner explained. (2)
So how does Milner intend to utilize the data gathered through social media? Let’s see what Milner did to Russia’s top social media site, VK:
In January 2014, Durov sold his 12 percent stake to Ivan Tavrin, the CEO of major Russian mobile operator Megafon, whose second-largest shareholder is Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, a man who has long been lobbying to take over VK.
Then, in April 2014, Durov stated he had sold his stake in the company and became a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis back in February after "coming under increasing pressure" from the Russian Federal Security Service to hand over personal details of users who were members of a VK group dedicated to the Euromaidan protest movement in Ukraine. (3)
The Euromaidan protest ousted the Russian-backed president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Paul Manafort had worked to install. (4)
Facebook talks US Elections with Russia
In Oct 2012 Zuckerberg traveled to Moscow and met Dmitry Medvedev where they had a very interesting conversation:
Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Medvedev talked about Facebook’s role in politics, though only jokingly in reference to its importance in the American presidential campaign, according to Mr. Medvedev’s press office. (1)
While there he also visited Victor Vekselberg's Skolkovo, who’s currently under investigation by Mueller for donations to Trump (2).
As Obama’s effort to reboot diplomatic relations [with Russia] sputtered, federal officials began raising alarms about the Skolkovo Foundation’s ties to Putin.
“The foundation may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research, development facilities and dual-use technologies” (3)
And took time to teach Russian's how to hack Facebook friend data, the same hack used by Cambridge Analytica, Donald Trump’s campaign data firm.
In a 2012 video, Facebook's Simon Cross shows the Moscow crowd how they can "get a ton of other information" on Facebook users and their friends. "We now have an access token, so now let's make the same request again and see what happens," Cross explains (YouTube). "We've got a little bit more data, but now we can start doing really interesting stuff. We can get my friends. We can get some more information about one of my friends. Here's Connor, who you'll meet later. Say 'hello,' Connor. He's waving. And we can also get a ton of other information as well." (4)
Facebook later hired the individual who hacked Facebook and sold the data to Cambridge Analytica (5).
A month after that visit, Putin propaganda mouth-piece Konstantin Rykov, claims he began helping with Trump’s presidential aspirations (6). Days later, Trump registered “Make America Great Again” (7). The following year, Russia's Troll Factory, the Internet Research Agency, was created as was Cambridge Analytica.
Andrei Shleifer and Len Blavatnik
Len Blavatnik, a US-Russian oligarch currently under investigation by Mueller, graduated from Harvard in 1989 and quickly formed Renova-Invest with Viktor Vekselberg, another oligarch under Mueller’s investigation (7)(8). Since then Blavatnik has maintained close ties to the university.
In 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Andrei Shleifer led a consortium of Harvard professors to assist Russia’s vice-president, Antaoly Chubais, with the privatization of Russia’s state-run assets. Scandal broke when it was revealed Shleifer, through Blavatnik’s company and with Blavatnik’s guidance, invested in the very companies he worked to privatize. (6)
Years later, Shleifer continued to fund loans to Blavatnik for Russian ventures through his hedge fund, managed by his wife, Nancy Zimmerman (9), and created the Russian Recovery Fund which bought $230 million of Russian debt from Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management (10), who’s seed fun, Tiger Global, later invested in Milner’s DST.
Len Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg are major investors in Rusal (11).
Schleifer is still a professor at Harvard.
Breyer and Harvard
On April 2013, two months after Breyer was elected to the board of Harvard (1), Len Blavatnik, donated $50 million to the school (2) and joined the Board of Dean’s Advisors (3)(4) and Harvard’s Global Advisory Council (6) alongside Breyer. The next month Breyer announced plans to step down from the board of Facebook with an intention of focusing on his latest Harvard appointment (5).
In 2016 Len Blavatnik donated over $7 million to GOP candidates, including $2.5 million to Mitch McConnell himself (7).
Breyer invests in Russian Companies
In 2014 Breyer’s Accel Partners invested in Russian hotel booking site, Ostrovok, along with Yuri Milner, Esther Dyson (1), Mark Pincus, and Peter Thiel (2).
Accel Partners also invested in Avito.ru in 2012 (3) and KupiVIP.ru in 2011 (4).
Jim Breyer, Blackstone Group, and Saudi Arabia
In 2011 Schwarzman was named to the board of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (2), headed by Kirill Dimitriev.
In June 2016, during Trump’s presidential campaign, Jim Breyer met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman, or MBS (8). The next month Breyer joined the board of Blackstone Group (1) alongside Stephen Schwarzman and Jacob Rothschild (3). In the past Blackstone Group had loaned Kushner Companies a combined $400 million over multiple projects (7). In the 2018 election cycle, Schwzarman donated $5 million to the pro-McConnell superPAC, Senate Majority PAC (13).
Jacob’s brother, Nat, is business partners with both Oleg Deripaska (4), Rupert Murdoch, and Dick Cheney (5). Nat is also a major investor in Glencore, one of the purchasers of Rosneft stock detailed in the Steele Dossier (6), and RusAl.
In January 2017, Breyer’s business partner at Wickr, Erik Prince, was introduced to Dimitriev by MBS’s emissary, George Nader, and the Crown Prince of the UAE (10).
On October 22, 2018, three weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, when most American investors were spooked away from Saudi Arabia, Jim Breyer showed up at an MBS-hosted Saudi business summit alongside Kirill Dimitriev of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (9). That same day, MBS pledged $20 billion for Blackstone Group's new infrastructure fund (11) to fund Elaine Chao's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan (12). Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnells wife and Jim Breyer's sister-in-law, is Trump's Secretary of Transportation.
I noticed a lot of people mentioning Bilderberg's connection to AXA and BlockStream
, recently with Jeff Berwick's two videos going viral as seen here
. It has been something I have been trying to warn people of for a while, and if you don't know what Bilderberg is you really need to watch this excellent documentary about it
. The current chairman of the Bilderberg steering committee Henri de Castries
was also CEO of AXA until he announced retirement in 2016. AXA is one of the main funders of BlockStream and Bitcoin Core development
. As one of the biggest insurance companies in the world AXA also benefits from the legacy too-big-to-fail bailout system, and Bitcoin is a threat to their way of life. AXA are also funding technocratic totalitarian smart cities
, where they team up with governments for full control. It is not surprising that they would want to get their fingers into Bitcoin.
Now lets dig a little deeper. About 6 or 7 years ago, right before Satoshi disappeared, Gavin Andresen was invited to speak at the CIA. He got an invitation directly from In-Q-Tel
the CIA's venture capitalist funding arm. Gavin mentions how In-Q-Tel reached directly out to him in this video @ 13sec mark
(I am not endorsing the rest of the content of this video). In-Q-Tel basically helps fund and invest in companies that help equip the CIA with the latest information technology and capabilities. You can look on In-Q-Tel's website
and see that they publicly invest in many innovative tech companies. Some of these are public, there are no crypto companies listed, but they also at times make private investments as well. Makes you wonder because they were interested enough to phone up Gavin Andresen personally and invite him for a speech, so in my opinion its highly likely they are investing somewhere in this space, and for what ends? We don't know. We do know that certain companies have captured the Core developers
, and blocked common sense progress on Bitcoin, and that should be alarming.
Further evidence that shows some type of coordination between these groups comes from Peter Thiel who has recently advocated against Bitcoin as a cash system
, and instead is pushing it as a settlement system
, the same narrative of BlockStream Core. It may also be interesting to know that Peter Thiel has also attended Bilderberg regularly and defends Bilderberg's secretive nature
. Thiel also is partnering with In-Q-Tel and the CIA with his company Palantir
, which spies on everybody. It is also interesting that at least one other VC funding firm Khosla Ventures invested in BlockStream
, and also in the past has helped fund other companies that are working with In-Q-Tel
. This was just from some quick research, only scratching the surface.
I find these connections somewhat alarming, considering all of the community attacks I have seen going on. Its possible that some groups are trying to strangle and control and co-opt Bitcoin. It would make sense that they might try to force everyone off of the old model by jacking up fees, so users are herded onto something new in a 2nd layer solution that is more easily controlled. I believe segwit allows them to create an open door for trying to encourage Bitcoiners to move into their system, and the high fees is what they hope pushes users through that door. This is probably why we see so many attempts to move away from Satoshi's vision and the whitepaper. Its why we see such a lack of common sense to simply raise the blocksize capacity. Its why we see such draconian censorship, dirty tricks, lies, and diabolical political tactics. Ultimately I don't want to draw any final conclusions, but I feel these facts should be brought to the table for people to decide for themselves.
Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/180-is-venture-capital-right-for-you/ Buck: submitted by
Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Vanessa Bartram. She is the managing partner of Zora. Zora is a Tel Aviv based fund that backs exceptional Israeli teams who will become the next global leaders in impact tech. Vanessa began her career in investment banking in Mexico City, later founding the Miami Impact Company WorkSquare which she grew to twenty five million dollars in revenue. She holds an MBA from Harvard BA from Princeton and is a heritage fellow with the Wexner Foundation and now of course the next step for most Harvard graduates is to go to the Wealth Formula Podcast for an interview. Welcome to the show Vanessa. Vanessa:
Thank you happy to be here. Buck:
Great so let me start out a little bit just defining some things which you're involved in is something called impact tech. What is impact tech and how did you get involved in this space? Vanessa:
Sure. So impact investing is a broad and messy term. I think we're getting a little bit better at defining the space. But effectively what investors where impact investors are looking for is to have some quantified measurable trackable impact on a social or environmental outcome in addition to you know strong financial return. At this stage I think about 90% of impact investors say they're looking for market rate of return. So this doesn't mean that you want to you know save the whales and make less money, it's figuring out how to make the same amount of money that any other venture fund would or any other tech company would while also being able to track you know tons of carbon you know diverted or you know tons of food waste diverted from landfill or something like that. Buck:
Yeah so give me some examples of some of the impact tech companies out there that maybe people might have or heard of just to get a bit a little bit better sense of what that sort of the company looks like. Vanessa:
Sure so you know some of the companies that we're working with are working on everything. One company does data analytics for satellite/radar data and they're working specifically in the forestry industry. So for us you know for them they're looking to sell you know operational insights and forest managers about how to grow their forests better. But for us when we look at this it was really a carbon emissions play that we realized that we could help improve the carbon stocks you know in the because of their because of the intervention that they had another of our companies now is a company called waste lists you know they're working on the problem of supermarket food waste so the 30 to 40 percent of perishable products in supermarkets are thrown away right now and it's about one percent of revenue for supermarkets. So by being able to introduce a dynamic pricing that's integrated with the you know POS software in the in the supermarket can incentivize customers to buy a cottage cheese that's expiring five days sooner rather than the ones that's gonna expire in three weeks and that way you know for them it's for the supermarket it has potential to to up their margins which are very tight already by you know 30 to 40 percent. Buck:
Got it. So you know one of the things again going back to basics and defining things you mentioned Zora is a it's a fun but it's a it's a venture capital fund is that right? Vanessa:
Yes that'd correct. Buck:
So for some of you know as you may or may not know most of us in this group and our investor group we’re just a bunch of dumb real estate investors. Can you explain the difference you know this this is sort of new for I think a lot of people. What's the difference between a venture capital fund and say you know private equity or say angel investing so what how do you how are those defined? Vanessa:
Sure so venture capital, angel investing, private equities they're all the same thing and that you're buying some percentage of a private companies equity as opposed to buying company I'm on the public market like the New York Stock Exchange. So in all of these you know as an investor you're buying some shares of a private company so different phases typically are just what phase the company is in and what size the company is. So an angel investor is going to be the first capital that goes into you know a start-up or other company. An angel may be putting in anywhere from you know 5,000, 10,000, 25,000 into a company. Venture capital typically is the first sort of institutional round of a company fundraise. So they'll be putting in anywhere from maybe a few hundred thousand to several million. Private equity tends to be what's called the growth stage when companies are already established and they're just looking to expand operations. Buck:
Got it guys so that's helpful so in general you know part of it is determining you know how big the company is where you're in and presumably because of that there's different levels of risk reward profiles based on those kind of different time horizons for business investment right? Vanessa:
So in terms of venture what is the typical time horizon you know for this kind of thing where I say you've got investors who are in a fund and you know what do you typically you know in a venture fund do you expect like a five years, ten years, you know some level of liquidity during that period of time? Vanessa:
It's a great question and I love that you're that you're facing and what you usually talk about is residential you know both my family. I came from a background a family that that's our family business so you know about 90% of my net assets are in multi-family residential real estate so everything you say I think is absolutely spot-on. Venture capital you know I tell everyone whether it's you're an angel investor even up to private equity it's an extremely risky asset class. This is something that I put in that bucket over five to ten percent looking for a different uncorrelated you know asymmetrical kind of return. So it's important to remember that piece when we're talking about the risk because then the risk of a venture capital has become you know we have this extremely risky asset class what's everything we can do to mitigate that risk and to do this as strategically and thoughtfully as we can. But to answer your questions were typical and it's illiquid is another another piece of this. And so the typical venture investment is a five to seven year hold. So typically a fund is going to spend about two to three years deploying the capital that they raised. So say someone raised over ten million dollars fund, it'll take them two years to sort of spend that money and make those investments they then hold it for five to seven years and then that harvesting period is another two to three years. So as a typical venture capital fund has a heavy shelf life of ten years which can be a daunting hold period for for some investments. Buck:
Yeah so in terms of what that looks like during that period of time there's often zero liquidity so I mean again going back to the parallel of multifamily real estate, we typically are looking at some dividends or distributions you know quarterly or even potentially yearly or whatever. But this is something that you got to say okay you know what this is your asymmetric risk play. Okay you buy Bitcoin and maybe you want to know invest in and this as well and you're just gonna forget about it. If you lose it you lose it. If one day you wake up and somebody says you meet you know five hundred percent on your money then that's kind of what what this is right? Vanessa:
Absolutely and then listen it can be done far more strategically that's that's what we're there to do. But yes it absolutely has an element of risk and it attracts people who are entrepreneurs and it's a you know we can talk a little bit more about the economics of it but it's absolutely a homerun business you know you're looking to have a portfolio and have those one or two you know big wins in there. Buck:
Right and then in terms of in terms of a homerun what is a homerun in venture language is that like at ten like 10x or is that a 5x I mean I'm just curious again these may be somewhat simplistic but most people probably in this in this audience probably don't really understand you know what what kind of metrics, financial metrics that, again not talking about specifically your fund as you know but just in general for venture like what if you're if you're talking about smaller allocations what are the typical targets like what's a win what's a what's a grand-slam and what is you know kind of a loss? Vanessa:
You're testing my sports metaphor here this is a sounder, but I can play, I can play. So typically our fund you know a fund that has is it in sort of 90th percentile is going to return 3x net of fees to its investors. So if you have a hundred million dollar fund that means you're returning maybe 350 million, 50 million are you know please other expenses and your investors end up in their pocket with 3x what they put in. So that's how that's how you get into the top decile of funds you know that's the same kind of numbers that we're looking to do, but then you're going down to the portfolio level and you assume each fund is invested and maybe you know 10 to 20 companies. So if we say that's 10 companies you're going to make the assumption that 5 of those companies failed totally, you know 3 of those companies you'll have like a small return on and that's maybe two to three times your capital, one of those companies deals on medium return which is maybe a five to ten and one of those companies you want to have a real outsides return that could be upwards of a 10 and somewhere a 20 to 30 kind of X. Buck:
Right I got it. And from a you know again understanding how I'm approaching this from real estate is there any sort of tax advantages to venture capital investing. Vanessa:
Not in this, you know we don't have obviously the the depreciation that you would have in real estate. Most everything as an investor you're buying into a limited partnership so you own a part of a pass-through entity right you own a percentage of that LP and then from that you receive a k1 and your gains are you know long-term capital gains so somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. Buck:
Okay got it okay. So let's talk specifically about Zora. Okay so when was Zora founded? Are you one of the founders and you know tell us a little bit about the story of the company. Vanessa:
Sure I am the founder and general partner. I moved to Israel about six years ago and started investing a few years after. And again this was a I always grown up with this idea of wanting to sort of do well do good while also doing well. This came from you know being second generation immigrant family that after running a series of different small businesses you know multi-family real estate and was able to grow you know reasonable amount of wealth there and I think as a child my parents did a good job of pointing out all of the things that I got to do that was not what an average child gets to do, whether that was going to summer camp or my education at a private school or studying abroad. So I think I always had sort of this question of how do people acquire wealth, how is it that once people have wealth they seem to be able to make more wealth more quickly, and what can we do as a society to sort of make sure that other people have access to more wealth, whether that's through financial education or starting businesses whatever that is. So that was sort of my you know social social justice lens coming into this world, but started my career and Investment Banking and really love the transactions I than the deal-making side. I was working in Mexico City where helping mostly third fourth generation companies sell themselves to foreign acquirers so going through the valuation and through the exit with them and after a bit after doing that moved to Boston to be my MBA at Harvard realized I was in entrepreneurial unfortunately while there, moved down to Miami started a company there doing financial education with low income you know bussers, janitors, dishwashers as a sort of job placement HR agency at WorkSquare and after running that business for a few years loved what I was doing did not love the industry and wanted the opportunity to work with more mission aligned entrepreneurs at a strategic level. By chance I came across Israel and started learning more about Israel and was just blown away about what a good fit it was for someone who wanted to do early-stage tech investing you know with a social environmental focus. Buck:
Why is that? Tell us a little bit about that you know why Israel was such a big part of it, why was it a good target for your venture fund. Vanessa:
Sure so you know first off we have about 6400 startups in Israel and about 40% of those have some social environmental sort of impact in what they're doing. So we have about 600 startups each in agricultural technologies in digital health and medical devices and clean tech, we have exciting new sectors coming up like food tech and and education and water technology all have 250-300 companies between them so really strong pipelines. I identified about you know 2,400 companies in Israel that were mission oriented and the way we were looking for and among those about 700 that were relevant in stage for us which is sort of pre seed and seed and I think Israel's really benefited you know with the the largest tech hub outside Silicon Valley it has the highest number of engineers and scientists or capita in the world. The government strongly supports R&D you know to the tune of about 400 million dollars per year for for small startups. The companies here all have a strong b2b focus from day one because our you know our population is only eight billion people you automatically need to be selling abroad. So that's a given. You know we have over 300 multinational companies that have a presence here whether it's a venture fund or Scouts for technology so from day one startups are working with these multinationals to sort of figure out the product market fit and the best reasons you know also evaluations here are far more reasonable. You know it's not hard to be more reasonable than what we're seeing in the US center market right now is craziness. We have far more reasonable valuations and our entrepreneurs tend to do about twice as much with the same amount of capital. Buck:
That's great okay got it okay. So you go to Israel you set up shop and when was that this? Vanessa:
It was 2014 when I moved here and started looking for deals on my own sort of as an angel that I could follow and put some put some money in and I would find deals you know this is a dating before you get married kind of things and a year to two years sort of following coaching these companies before deciding which ones to go with. I would put in you know a small amount of capital personally put together a 25-page diligence report and bring that to investors primarily in the US where my network is and have them invest alongside me for a typical you know venture capital fee. Buck:
Got it. So what's happened since 2014? Vanessa:
So we've invested in five companies as part of our demo portfolio and that was the sort of one by one you know each investment we did was a special purpose vehicle with different investors and then it came time to put together a small fund. So we're working on that now we've made our first two investments and have our third under diligence and we're really looking to be the the best of Israeli impact tech. Buck:
Got it. Is it too early to have any Vegas 2014 and now is too early to have any divestments or at this point? Vanessa:
Yeah so I first investments we're actually like started in 2016 we've had one we've had one exit so far yeah which was which was fun and to use sports metaphors there was a double you know now that not a homerun but it was great to be able to send some money back to investors and it was I think emblematic of the challenge that we see in Israel which you know we have great product and technology and the challenge is frequently knowing how to commercialize and get that to market you know the best way. So this company was approached by the largest Japanese education publisher because they wanted to expand the product through Asia so the team decided to go with that and have them distribute for them. Buck:
So let's go back again to sort of your buy box. so when you guys are looking at companies what are some of the characteristics that might be somewhat unique to to you and your in terms of metrics things like that what are you looking at? Vanessa:
Sure we're looking first of all we're looking at the niche of seed stage. In the past about five years since 2015 most venture capital funds have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger with the reasonable idea that if you're going to make an investment in spend the time doing due diligence you might as well invest more money at a later stage and have more fees and more you know successfully from the time that you spent on that. What happens is there's a real vacuum at sort of speed stage and for us seed stage is when a when a tech company is raising about a million to two million dollars, they’re pre revenue, what we're looking for is that they have some significant partnership with a major corporation that might be an unpaid pilot, a paid pilot, it might be you know a joint project and developing a product together, but we want to see that the company has abilities to access the kind of the kind of large-scale multinationals that they're going to need to be selling to and for us we're looking at seed stage we're looking at valuations of about four to five million dollars pre-money or about a five and a half, six million dollar valuation after is around this point and that allows us to buy about a little over five percent interest in the company and so we're writing initial checks of about three hundred and fifty thousand dollars on average, which means we're looking for other strong co investors in that round. We want other people with deep pockets with sector expertise that are also going to come in have skin in the and help us grow that company. I would say the other things we're looking for, we're looking for a short time to monetization so anything that we think is going to have a long regulatory cycle, anything beyond that be a class one we won't even look at. There's a lot of the clean tech here that becomes problematic for us because it's the time horizon is too long it's too capital intensive so we're looking for companies that can monetize in the next you know two years minimum. Buck:
Yeah got it got it. And I presume and of course those monetization I mean that money is all going back in the business just to be clear, it's not distributed or anything. So basically from from the standpoint, these investments are relatively small right three hundred three hundred fifty thousand like you're saying. So for a venture fund is there a lot of variability in terms of minimum investment for the actual investors in the fund, I mean is it you know usually, you don't have to talk about your fund I know, but in general do you have to you know is there these kinds of things sort of all over the place? Vanessa:
They are and I would say increasingly so and for the better. Typically in a firm this may be a twenty five million dollars fund I think traditionally they're going to have a minimum that's a 250,000 or a 500,000 but payable over you know a few years of the investment period and you know one interesting trend we've been seeing in the past few years a sort of the better access to startup investment through crowdfunding platforms. There's you know a large one in Israel called Our Crowd that I think is invested over you know maybe 300 million dollars in the last few years in Starbucks. The one challenge you know it's a real balance with sort of the making venture capital which you know in my mind is a terrible industry it's you know been opaque, it's you know people are running off the ball stairs and crazy fees, you know there's a lot of mismatched incentives between investors and the fund managers, so I'm not at all a fan of of the industry as it is, but on the flip side you know bringing the model to a more retail level I think can also be scary because investors are missing that diversification. I see investors you know coming here and you know putting money in one startup that they find that the guy seems nice and statistically speaking you're better off going to Vegas and you know putting your guns on red pen. So that's one piece. The diversification piece is another that's really challenging, you know like we were talking about before even the best angel investors the best don't know for a while which of the 10 is going to be the home run and which is going to be you know one of the hardest and so that's another piece of it. And the third thing I'd say is that you know whether it's an equity crowdfunding platform or even like a local angel group, it's really hard to get the best a little access, so again this is a this is a game of home runs you need to have access to the absolute best entrepreneurs and deals you can find and you know nine times out of ten the best deals, different VC fund severity you know are fighting for allocation and those deals before any crowdfunding platform or any angel group whatever see them. Buck:
So that's probably one of the reasons being in Tel Aviv is also advantageous as well right I mean I would imagine it's probably a little bit less competitive compared to the Silicon Valley venture targets. Vanessa:
Yeah absolutely and that's why we're really strict about staying in seed stage because at that phase when an entrepreneur is raising about a million a million and a half dollars they're shopping locally for investors. They're not taking the time to go abroad. Once they get to their series A when they're looking for three to five million you know they're going to New York they're going to Silicon Valley and suddenly the valuation is the same as it is in Silicon Valley, New York you know so my colleague Ryan Weinberg and I were joking about one startup that we saw that we thought was really interesting and had a four million pre-money valuation, they were invited to participate in Y Combinator in the valley and two months later after they finished the program the four million pre-money valuation was now nine million pre-money. Buck:
If you’re in that as an investor at that point it really doesn't really make any difference to you until there's some sort of liquidity event right? I mean that's not that that's great to know right, I mean just increased your net worth, but is there any you know what happens at the investor level when that happens? Vanessa:
So that was one trend since we didn't invest in because we anticipated before they closed the round the valuation was going to get a little ridiculous and so you know you're absolutely right. Being here locally we get to take advantage of the better valuation before people go shop them abroad but they're you know if you are in a deal you know where you come in at a reasonable valuation and other investors come in at what you think is a little bit crazy valuation and it's time you know, on paper you know we have to remember all these values on paper until you actually get your money back which doesn't have a central acquisition or exit and you know on paper you you double your money and however it can make it difficult for the company to raise additional capital you know at that valuation. Buck:
Right got it. Well you know I want to give you a chance just to mention anything else that I haven't asked because this is clearly not my area but I mean if you're somebody who's interviewing you, is there something or anything I've missed that you think is useful to know about the space about impact investing or just you know just in general about Zora? Vanessa:
Sure I mean I think it's important in this space if people are looking to get involved in venture, I would spend a lot of time doing diligence on different fund managers and checking them out, you know we talked about you know VC returns historically are nothing to get excited about. I think on average VC returns as bad anywhere from sort of you know 13 to 15% which when you are counting in the liquidity you know and the risk profile over what a market benchmark is not so exciting when you're looking at it used to be real estate is not so exciting. You know smaller fronts is not a bit of advantage. They're typically at 15 to 18 percent kind of IRR return. But the real sort of secret in this industry is a big huge gap between the good fund managers and the bad fund managers. So the top quartile of fund managers have traditionally delivered you know load 20 IRRs know 20 to 26 IRR numbers where it's the lowest quartile fund managers have been about 5 to 8 percent, which 5 to 8 percent to have your money locked up for 10 years it's you know enough to make your stomach turn. So I think a huge piece of this is picking the right front manager and doing the homework on that and that's really a question of who's gonna have the best deal offset. For me I really favor and admire homes that are run by entrepreneurs. They’ve been there, they understand what it looks like, they know how to add value in an operational sense, you know they need to have an ability to execute on a relatively short timeline, and they need to have skin in the game. You know I see some fund managers who have none of their own capital sort of invested in this and they're happy making money off the management fees whether those investments succeed or fail, and that's obviously a no-go. Buck:
Well this has been very very helpful and educational. How can how can we learn more about what Zora does and you know website or any other kind of information we can potentially get? Vanessa:
Sure so we put together a special page for Wealth Formula listeners. One of the Wealth Formula members, Jonah Mink is an investor of a few years and a good friend. Thanks to him, made the introduction, so glad to be with you today. And so if you go to our website and http://www.zora.vc/wealthformula
, there's a special page and we'll be having some more informational materials for Wealth Formula members. Buck:
We’ll also put that in the show notes. Vanessa thanks so much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today. Vanessa:
Thank you, Buck. It’s great to be with you. Buck:
We’ll be right back.
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