Give First


Ep 51: Bain Capital Ventures’ Matt Harris on supporting entrepreneurs through 25+ years as an investor

Ep. 51

There are some people whose lives are perfect expressions of the zeitgeist. Matt Harris is one of them. 

In 1995, Matt’s college roommate at Williams started a company out of their dorm room. It was called Tripod, and it was one of the first dot com companies. By 1997, when Matt was 24, Williams invited him back to Williamstown, a rural community with a population of 6,000, to run an investing firm. 

When that was a success, Matt and that same college roommate, Bo Peabody, started Village Ventures to bring VC to secondary and tertiary cities around the U.S., with a focus on college towns with intellectual capital, but no venture capital. 

Fun fact: Matt’s first hire at Village Ventures was Gina Raimondo, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2012, Village Ventures wound down, and Matt moved to Bain Capital Ventures, where he continues to invest in startups.

Basically, Matt’s journey has paralleled, and shaped, that of venture capital in the age of the internet. Listen for insights into that rocky road, and how Matt has learned, over time, how to best support the entrepreneurs he’s invested in.

More Episodes


Ep 68: ESG Takeover: Soona CEO and UN PRI Head of Private Equity on How to Engage with Investors

Ep. 68
In this second ESG takeover episode, Dr. Mairi-Jane Fox, who helps lead ESG at Techstars, talks with Soona CEO and Co-Founder Liz Giorgi and UN-sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment Head of Private Equity Peter Dunbar about different aspects of engaging with investors, including investor diligence, transparent conversations, and discussing ESG practices.First, Liz Giorgi explains the development of the candor clause, and how it benefits startup founders regardless of their identity. The candor clause helps facilitate open, honest conversations about investors' practices, and ultimately allows founders to make informed decisions about who they are taking money from.“That kinda conversation is unparalleled in terms of building a better relationship with that investor and just really understanding who you're going into business with in the long run,” Liz Giorgi said.Then, listen as Peter describes what it means for venture capital firms and investors when they become signatories of the UN PRI. Among other requirements, signatories generally work toward implementing six principles for ESG and responsible investing which founders can consider when pitching to them“Given the requirements of being a signatory and the principles themselves, VC signatories should really be looking to engage with startups and founders on ESG topics and be actively considering them in their investment decision-making processes,” Peter said.Follow Liz Giorgi on Twitter @lizgiorgiListen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

Ep 67: Integrated Capital Strategies Founder Sharon Schneider on Value Integration and Social Entrepreneurship

Ep. 67
We all have a set of principles for how we live our lives. How well are those principles aligned across every facet, though? You might be environmentally conscious but it’s important to ask yourself: Where do you do your banking? Who holds your mortgage?This is the driving point for author Sharon Schneider’s book, Handbook for an Integrated Life: A Practical Guide to Aligning Your Everyday Choices with Your Internal Compass.“If you're just floating along on mainstream American culture, my friend, … you're getting a very me-first, maximize-benefit-for-yourself all-the-time approach. This idea of taking your value and being conscious about how you integrate it into every area of your life for everyday people really became the genesis of the book,” said the Integrated Capital Strategies founder.Listen as Sharon highlights a few of the 7 principles for an integrated life in the book, and how #givefirst and living integrated isn’t always about spending money but intentionally looking at all the places you can live into that value.Also, don’t miss Sharon talking about her experience in Techstars’ Excelerate Labs program in 2012 and how it was a valuable contributor to her career that blends entrepreneurship, business ownership, philanthropic and social change strategy, and impact investing.Follow Sharon Schneider on Twitter @sharonschneiderFollow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohenListen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.