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Social+Capital, the League of Extraordinarily Rich Gentlemen

Stashed in: Venture Capital!, Silicon Valley!, Wealth!, Awesome, Quantified Self, VC, Caltech, Startup, Quantified Self, @chamath

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Chamath raved about Integrated Plasmonics, founded early last year by three scientists in their mid-30s to make an ultracheap, all-purpose medical diagnostic device. “The idea would be: You have this little strip, you could lick it, you could pee on it, or you could put a microdrop of blood on it, stick it into this little machine, and it’ll do a full characterization,” Palihapitiya explained. The chip would measure cholesterol levels, glucose levels, blood counts, kidney function, and the like. “You can basically know every day, every week, every month, everything that’s happening in your body.”

Oh that is the "a physicist, a chemist, and a biologist" from Caltech company! They are the only startup I've ever met who had a clean room built into the garage of their suburban rental house :)

Why does Chamath describe this as a Quantified Self company?

Don't need a doctor to get scripts to test appropriate health levels -- use the legos/Health monitor and when the Legos flag a real problem to to doctor or hospital. Seems simple and brilliant if it works.

Sorry, did you say Legos?

Not sure I understand what you're saying.

It fits under 'Quantified Self' because it makes the measuring so cheap and easy it can be done daily/preemptively rather than just occasionally/reactively.

Gordon, got it. Amazing they can get started with just $3 million in funding.

The description also reminds of this recent science-fair winner story -- where paper strips, pretreated with an antibody-nanotube mixture, make detection of targetted proteins/cancer-markers much cheaper:

Amazing that a 15-year-old figured this out:

Andraka’s diagnostic breakthrough is a humble piece of filter paper, except that it is dipped in a solution of carbon nanotubes, which are hollow cylinders with walls the thickness of a single atom, coated with a specific antibody designed to bind with the virus or protein you’re looking for. Andraka’s key insight is that there are noticeable changes in the electrical conductivity of the nanotubes when the distances between them changes. When the antibodies on the surface of the nanotubes come in contact with a target protein, the proteins bind to the tubes and spread them apart a tiny bit. That shift in the spaces between tubes can be detected by an electrical meter. Andraka used a $50 meter from the Home Depot to do the trick but, he says, doctors can just as easily insert his test-strips into the kinds of devices used by millions of diabetics around the world.


Palihapitiya also has a tendency to say things that, while emphasizing the inequity of the global economic system, simultaneously call attention to his own place atop it. In criticizing the admissions policies of Ivy League universities, he cracks that, thanks to his money, “my kids could moonwalk into Harvard with kegs on their heads. I’m not saying that’s good, but that’s how it is.”

Despite the sense of noblesse oblige, I'm glad someone is able to deploy capital against the big problems. (Though as the article points out, Chamath wasn't averse to making money on Playdom--about as non pro-social as you can get).

Good point. Plus, he's not the only one going after education (Mitch Kapor, Learn Capital, ImagineK12, etc), not the only one going after health (RockHealth, etc), not the only one going after financial services for social good (Omidyar Network, etc), and not the only one investing his own money (Sutter Hill, Felicis, Sacca, just about every angel ever).

I'm sure they'll be an important part of the ecosystem but what is good is not new. S23p is just another set of guys with money.

The amount of his own money in the fund is a measure of his belief in this idea. He has invested $60 million. In contrast to traditional VC funds, where the partners have comparatively little of their own money at stake, Palihapitiya, Hamid, and Maidenberg are providing nearly a quarter of the fund’s total.

I disagree that the amount of money he put in has signaling power.

Chamath's net worth is many times what he put into the fund.

Therefore he funded s23p with his "play money".

He could lose the $60 million and still be wealthy beyond the dreams of 99.99% of earth.

I was quoting the article. It seems that Facebook was his main gig. Where does all the money come from?


And I was disagreeing with the article, not you. ;)

The more I look at that image, the more XY it looks.

Where are the women???

Oh, right, there are no women in the league of super-rich gentleMEN.

Other than my severe desire to meet and have a very long conversation with Peter Thiel (on at least half a dozen subjects), I see a very large amount of vinegar on this image.....

I hope it's just lousy reporting....

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