Our Thesis on Work: Equalizing Opportunity

When we talk internally about our themes at NextView, the focus is less on areas or sectors, but more about shifts in human behavior and preferences. We share some of the categories we are interested in on our website, but the themes we pursue are based on the way end-user behavior is changing as these categories are being transformed by technology.

For example, we have a broad interest in what’s happening in the food category, and one thesis within that is around the shift from “source” to “application”. I wrote about this in this post on After Organic as well as in our interview with the founders of WildType about engineered fish protein.

Another theme that has been guiding much of our thinking in recent months has been within the work category. The “Future of Work” is a very broad and squishy term that could encompass nearly anything.

But one of the shifts that we have been most excited to support has been around equalizing access and opportunity for career success. There are many many dozens of invisible barriers that stymie the career opportunities for very large segments of the population. Some of these may be addressed by B2B software tools purchased by enterprises, but others may be addressed by companies that don’t seem like “future of work” startups at all.

One example are companies that are providing access and opportunity to a thriving career while also balancing family and childcare. As a parent to two kids and husband to a woman with a highly intense professional career, I’ve seen first hand the kind of mountains that need to be overcome to enable professional success while caring for babies and infants. This is why we were so excited about companies like CozyKin, which enables the best child-care solution available for young children. It’s also part of why we were so excited to back a soon-to-be launched baby nutrition company, which will significantly help alleviate other challenges that working mothers face with their newborn children.

Another big challenge is around improving access and opportunity for under-represented professionals to grow and advance in their careers. This could be through community (as in the Wing), through training and continuing education (as with our portfolio company Strive), or through more effective hiring and recruiting.

We are also excited about marketplaces and software companies that provide more efficient access and opportunity to blue collar, service, or trade workers. We’ve made several investments in this category, such as our investment in Paintzen (which was acquired by PPG), and admire the work of companies like Service Titan that have demonstrated how enormous this category is, even if most of the VC and entrepreneurial community is relatively blind to the opportunity.

The core belief of the Everyday Economy is that the extraordinary power of technology and software is moving from the edges to the core. In doing this, it means that traditional barriers that have held true for generations in many industries are being broken down, and broader opportunity is being created for everyone. This democratization is happening in the workplace, and we want to partner with founders who are looking to enable greater access and opportunity for everyone.

If you are working on something with this mission, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, email me at rob@nextviewventures.com, or let us know how we can get in touch with you.