welcome to Miami

This is the second half of a Two-Part Series.

In the first section of this series, I discussed some of the things that we need to confront as an industry: the gist is that venture capitalists have outsize influence on the direction of a sub-economy that drives incredible dialogue, but that doesn’t mean that we should have unchecked, outsize influence on how we think about everything. Following VCs as if we are sagely guides is dangerous, especially given our propensity for bad behavior and erroneous perspectives on the human side of society.

In this section, I bring it full circle…

a MAGA insurrectionist with the words “if you can silence a king, you are the king” superimposed over him
a MAGA insurrectionist with the words “if you can silence a king, you are the king” superimposed over him
Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. [Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images]

This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Series.

PROLOGUE: I wavered on writing this.

After all — I’m a venture capitalist, so how could I authentically strike the balance between calling out the clear and damaging issues in our industry and its icons, while not sounding sanctimonious and presuming that I’ve got this all figured out?

I was still on the fence on writing about this until this past week, when I saw many tech leaders’ responses to the violent insurrection that occured less than a mile from my home, where they concluded the real villains were the platforms…

Berlin, 1989

Fifteen months ago, Marc Andreessen published his now-frequently quoted, misquoted, parodied, revered, and whatever-elsed essay, It’s Time to Build. I’ve read and re-read this, probably on the order of dozens of times now, and I’ve tried really hard to look at it on the basis of what he says, uninfluenced by other things he’s said in public that could skew the objectivity, political nuance, or overall call to action he’s imposing here.

And I’ve failed to do so for one main reason: you can’t. Everything Marc discusses in his essay intersects with a variety of political, economic, social, religious, and…


I find the intersection of social impact and venture capital to be incredibly exciting. If you’ve followed me much at all — either via my Medium posts, my Twitter, or some things I’ve posted on the Accion Blog, you’re probably aware of my beat that focuses on a different flavor of venture investing.

Impact-focused venture capital takes the ongoing discussions of viral marketing, go-to-market strategy, fundraising, and all other topics in the startup world, and it applies a bit of a different criteria to what we define as “successful”. …

Matt and colleague at a textile loom facility in Chennai, India
Matt and colleague at a textile loom facility in Chennai, India
Me and Tahira in Chennai

I’m just about a year into my role at Accion Venture Lab, which I’ve described to many as a bit of a dream job.

And it’s true! Since joining, we’ve made investments in early-stage startups that aim to improve education access in Indonesia, provide asset-backed loans and insurance in Colombia, enhance wage access in Egypt, and have also helped an MSME budgeting and financial management app get kickstarted in Nigeria. It’s been incredibly challenging and fun — more than I think I’ve had in a job, like, ever.

There’s lots more to do, and this particular moment in history —…

It was mid-2017, and I was about three months into my new job at Salesforce. As a product marketer, I had been clued into the notion that the Salesforce zeitgeist considered its perihelion, its period of getting closest to the sun, to occur in that little, inconsequential period of time known as Dreamforce.

As the time arrived, this premonition came all the more true. Typical daily work was replaced with quick tweaks here and there of a Keynote. Wrangling speakers for various talk tracks went from gentle nudging to stern reminders. …

Fintech startups in emerging markets drive customer-focused innovation and are ripe for investment.

Two men in a discussion, sitting in front of a laptop
Two men in a discussion, sitting in front of a laptop
With CreditMantri’s help, Subbah has rebuilt his credit score.

The fintech world is still buzzing about Intuit’s announcement that it will acquire Credit Karma for $7.5 billion. Credit Karma’s steady ascent, expanding portfolio of services beyond free credit reporting, and a broad slate of partnerships make it a veritable success story for their founders and investors. (We also have to give a shout-out to our DC-area neighbors — and occasional co-investors — at QED for this one!)

As a platform that promotes financial inclusion for millions of consumers in America and across the world, we at…

Matt Schaar

Writing about the intersection of technology and impact @accion.

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