Nonobvious Opportunities

Some solutions to problems that have the biggest impact on our lives seem obvious once we’re using them—though not before. Summoning a stranger to pick you up in their car or renting a room from a stranger both seem unremarkable now that we’re doing both. But a few years ago, they were nonobvious opportunities that many thought had no chance of succeeding. Uber, Airbnb, and a variety of other impactful solutions have changed how we live our lives and are each worth billions of dollars.

Evaluating a nonobvious opportunity for investment is hard. It requires investors to focus on what they stand to gain if things go right, not all the possible reasons for failure. And before investors can evaluate these opportunities, they have to find them.

I suspect that more nonobvious opportunities from great founders with the potential for outsize returns exist, but the network problem in VC prevents them from being funded. If this problem can be solved, I see more solutions being built that will have a material positive impact on society and create outsize returns for the limited partners that back these founders.