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Monday, January 28, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammed Yunus, Founder Grameen Bank.

Buy the Book

Creating a world without poverty
- Muhammad Yunus



Muhammad Yunus

What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality? To some, it sounds impossible. But Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is doing exactly that. As founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus pioneered microcredit, the innovative banking program that provides poor people––mainly women––with small loans they use to launch businesses and lift their families out of poverty. In the past thirty years, microcredit has spread to every continent and benefited over 100 million families. But Yunus remained unsatisfied. Much more could be done, he believed, if the dynamics of capitalism could be applied to humanity’s greatest challenges.
Now, in Creating a World Without Poverty, Yunus goes beyond microcredit to pioneer the idea of social business––a completely new way to use the creative vibrancy of business to tackle social problems from poverty and pollution to inadequate health care and lack of education. This book describes how Yunus––in partnership with some of the world’s most visionary business leaders––has launched the world’s first purposely designed social businesses. From collaborating with Danone to produce affordable, nutritious yogurt for malnourished children in Bangladesh to building eyecare hospitals that will save thousands of poor people from blindness, Creating a World Without Poverty offers a glimpse of the amazing

future Yunus forecasts for a planet transformed by thousands of social businesses. Yunus’s “Next Big Idea” offers a pioneering model for nothing less than a new, more humane form of capitalism.

“ By giving poor people the power to help themselves, Dr. Yunus
has offered them something far more valuable than a plate of
food––security in its most fundamental form.”
––Former President Jimmy Carter

“ Muhammad Yunus is a practical visionary who has improved
the lives of millions of people in his native Bangladesh and
elsewhere in the world.” ––Los Angeles Times

“ [Yunus’s] ideas have already had a great impact on the
Third World, and...hearing his appeal for a ‘poverty-free world’
from the source itself can be as stirring as that all-American
myth of bootstrap success.” ––The Washington Post

Y-Combinator Tech Startup Seed Funding

Philosophy

We think hackers are most productive when they can spend most of their time hacking. Our goal is to create an environment where you can focus exclusively on getting an initial version built. In any startup, the first couple months tend to be the most productive of all. Those first months define the company. So anything you can do to maximize their effects is probably a good idea.

We seem to have succeeded in creating a good environment, because many founders have told us that the first ten weeks of Y Combinator were the most productive period of their lives.

We try to interfere as little as possible in the startups we fund. We don't want board seats, rights to participate in future rounds, vetoes over strategic decisions, or any of the other powers investors sometimes require. We offer lots of advice, but we can't force anyone to take it. We realize that independence is one of the reasons people want to start startups in the first place. And frankly, it's also one of the reasons startups succeed. Investors who try to control the companies they fund often end up destroying them.

One concrete consequence is that Y Combinator funding lets you sell early, if you want to. It can sometimes make sense to sell yourself when you're small for a few million, rather than take more funding and roll the dice again. Google likes to do early-stage acquisitions, and we expect them to become increasingly common as other companies learn what Google has.

If you take a large amount of money from an investor, you usually give up this option. But we realize (having been there) that an early offer from an acquirer can be very tempting for a group of young hackers. So if you want to sell early, that's ok. We'd make more if you went for an IPO, but we're not going to force anyone to do anything they don't want to.

Why are we so flexible? Not (just) because we're nice people. We realize that, as it gets cheaper to start a company, the balance of power is shifting from investors to hackers. We think the way of the future is simply to offer hackers the best possible deal.

Our goal is to be the preferred source of seed funding, and to be that we have to do right by everyone. The good hackers all know one another, so if the groups we fund feel they're getting a bad deal, no one will want funding from us in the future. And later stage investors (especially VCs) also tend to know one another, so if the companies we seed end up being broken in any way, no one will want to invest in them in the future.

So far we seem to be on track, because both the startups we've funded and their next round of investors seem happy with us.