Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective becomes a venture capital machine

“In the seven years since the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, his 55-year-old widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, has become one of the most high-profile philanthropists in the world” Sarah McBride and Gerry Smith report for Bloomberg. “She’s donated tens of millions to innovative K-12 schools, stepped up her role in her longstanding charity helping underprivileged kids go to college and given multiple grants to investigative journalism outlets, in addition to acquiring a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine.”

Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs
“But Powell Jobs’s main organization, the Emerson Collective, has also become a quiet force in Silicon Valley for its less obviously altruistic investments,” McBride and Smith report. “Since 2014, Emerson has backed more than 30 startups, according to research firm PitchBook, investing in a range of novel companies making everything from floating data centers to supersonic aircraft. Its portfolio even includes digital bulletin board site Pinterest Inc.”

“Powell Jobs, a former bond trading strategist at Goldman Sachs, assiduously avoids the spotlight,” McBride and Smith report. “She’s also one of the wealthiest women in the world, with a net worth today estimated at about $22 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.”

“Today, Powell Jobs’s son Reed Jobs is working on accelerating cancer research, an interest that stems from his father’s illness when he was a teen,” McBride and Smith report. “Emerson is different, Reed Jobs says. ‘While most other players in this space focus on philanthropy or investment,’ he said in an interview posted to Emerson’s website, ‘we are able to do both.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why not do both philanthropy and investment? It doesn’t need to be an either/or decision.

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  1. Go look at Emerson Collective’s terms and conditions. They do NOT want outside people with brilliant ideas contacting them. They are only interested in trusted referrals. In fact, if you submit an unsolicited idea to them their terms and conditions explicitly state that Emerson Collective immediately owns that idea and all the details you give to them.

    Emerson Collective is doing good out there. But, if you’re a startup with a new and brilliant idea with no “friend of friend” kind of inroad into them, I’d very strongly suggest you look elsewhere.

    1. Presumably, while they have a large amount of money, they probably still have a small team, and given their Silicon Valley connections, they probably get more referrals than they can pay attention to. It’s just more efficient to focus your limited amount of time, on projects that have already been vetted to some degree by other folks you already trust. I guess this may be how something like Theranos survives so long, as people trusted referrals from guys like Ellison, so there’s the negative too.

  2. Steve Jobs would be proud of Laurene. Helping less fortunate students get a better education is the mark of someone who cares about people and how they contribute to society. One can only profit from such compassionate philanthropy.

  3. Strangely, or interestingly, depending upon your perspective, Powell-Jobs started at Goldman when the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin did, and both were in bond-trading. He was a trader, she was a bond-analyst.

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