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The Actually Helpful Award

Celebrating the investors that actually contribute to building the future, rather than just writing checks and tweeting.

Each winner was asked to provide a short bio, and a handful of predictions about how they think their category will change over the next 3-5 years.

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Elaine Zelby

Partner at SignalFire

"As more operators get into investing, founders will opt for investors who roll up their sleeves and can help them not just think about the grand vision, but who can also geek out about tackling the nitty gritty of building a company and take on some of the work and responsibility along the way.

Following through on the things you promise and focusing on impact, not just checking a box, goes a long way both for your reputation and the ultimate success of the companies you support. Investing is a services business and the customer's satisfaction and success is critical for your success."

Mike MacCombie

Investor @ ff Venture Capital

"In five years, the investors that stand out will be the ones that see community, creation, and a point of view on values as essential to their work.

As community-driven investors, investors will take every opportunity to build the contexts for talent, peers, experts, and customers to gather and collaborate with founders. As creators, they will build alongside their founders - from high value content to no-code platforms and services to leverage their support for their portfolio.

And as values increasingly intertwine with our work - who we work with, who we empower, and what impact we are working towards - those investors that take a clear stand on their views in all facets of the industry will stand out as the ones founders want as their partners."

Lolita Taub

Co-Founder and GP @ The Community VC

"Money is a commodity and investors are a dime a dozen. Founders have taken note and are increasingly looking to add investors to their cap tables that are human and add value - as they should.

I predict that founders will no longer stand for investors who are jerks and ask “how can I help you?” but do nothing. The best investors will respond by being more real and actually help by creating community, content, and products/services to assist in founders’ success."

Mac Conwell

Founder & Managing Partner @ RareBreed Ventures

"Over the next 5 years we will start to see the raise of the solo capitalist, far more funding at the Pre-seed level, Investors being more open to investing in companies who's offices they can't just drive to, and a rise in innovative forms of fundraising for emerging managers."

Li Jin

Founder & Managing Partner @ Atelier

"In general, I believe the new currency of leadership is authenticity and vulnerability. That means we’re moving away from an era where investor hubris and grandiosity was appealing, to one in which founders are more attracted to investors who demonstrate humility and compassion, and who are authentic, relatable human beings, each with their own sense of mission. After all, a cap table is a reflection of who the founder desires to enrich in the world.

Just as investors look for founder superpowers, increasingly, founders will expect GPs to have superpowers, too. Founders now think of investors as extensions of their teams, and will (rightly) select investors based on their unique strengths, whether that’s distribution/having an audience, recruiting, etc. It’s increasingly challenging to be an undifferentiated purveyor of capital."

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