How to Use This Book
The primary scope of this playbook is venture investing, which occupies a specific portion of the full range of investing activities and asset classes, each of which carry their own risk/reward profiles, and each of which require different mindsets and competencies to achieve sustained success.
Our target audience is people and teams who invest directly in entrepreneurship and innovation—as friends and families of entrepreneurs, angel investors, family offices, and principals of institutional venture capital firms. While we believe that redemptive action is needed and applicable across all investing types, this playbook is written with direct investment in venture building as its primary context.
We assume that venture investing is part of your portfolio because you have a particular interest in entrepreneurship, including a deep curiosity about innovation and the startup process, a desire to form personal relationships with founders and their teams, and the financial capacity and risk tolerance to develop a sustained competence in this craft.
Most specifically, we write for those who see their venture investing as more than just an asset class with a particular type of financial return, but also as a meaningful act of cultural creation. In other words, while redemptive investors want to make something from their investing (returns), they first want to make something through their investing (culture).
At Praxis we have worked with and learned from many venture funders like this—“successful” in meeting their portfolio return goals, and equally fruitful in casting a positive and lasting influence on the lives, organizations, and cultural contribution of the founders and ventures they back. These leaders—and those who aspire to follow in their footsteps—are the primary inspiration and audience for this book.
These investors have discovered that their maturing philosophy of venture investing has reshaped their approach to deploying most of their capital, including other types of investing as well as their philanthropic giving. This effect explains why we trust this playbook to have a broader “secondary scope”—for we hope its ideas about relationships, risk, and cultural vision will shape our approaches to wealth stewardship as a whole.
Praxis is a community dedicated to putting our Christian faith into practice through redemptive entrepreneurship—in our leadership intentions and behavior, and in the products, services, and organizations we build and fund. So, though this book is not exclusively for Christians, it is written to Christians, as it is rooted in historic Christian conceptions of human identity, purpose, wealth, and the common good.
The playbook is structured in two main parts: a First Principles essay, followed by six sections covering areas of venture investing that we believe are most vital to redemptive impact: Mission, Portfolio, Terms, Partnerships, Entrepreneurs, and Worth. In each section we offer several “redemptive opportunities.” Read these as a generative menu of aspirational but real-world practices that you can adapt and apply in your journey of redemptive investing.