Schmidt Futures’ Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program provides the world’s most talented people with the opportunity to incubate new ideas for public benefit and to invest in efforts with the potential to change entire sectors at scale.
The coming decades will offer extraordinary opportunities and challenges. Technologies like artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and robotics will transform our lives and communities, and their design and delivery will be determined by a new generation of entrepreneurs. Too often, however, we fail to apply our most advanced technologies to the biggest human and social problems because there is no prospect of immediate commercial return. Technological change will be far likelier to make lives better if we take a more expansive definition of entrepreneurship — one that measures success not just in commercial returns, but also in improved lives.
To change this, we need to unleash the full potential of our most talented people by embracing a new, more inclusive view of who can be an entrepreneur. A business leader can be an entrepreneur, but so too can a scientist, a teacher, a civil servant. This new generation of entrepreneurs will transform a variety of organizations, industries, and communities, in both the private and public sectors. For our societies to maximize progress, we must empower all of these talented visionaries.
The Schmidt EIR program aims to bet early on this new kind of entrepreneur. They will be the world’s most talented people who embody the shift from:
- Private return to public good;
- One narrow focus to helping people at scale;
- The notion of a singular, iconic founder to a broader vision of who founders can be — whether a scientist, a teacher, a public servant — and what they can do.
The EIRs will come from all over the world and share one common attribute — they are capable of building something big in the world that has massive public benefit. They will join the Schmidt Futures team in New York and actively shape its portfolio of philanthropic investments. At the same time, the EIRs will develop essential skills they will need to launch their own ventures after completing the two-year residency – applied knowledge that can only be learned on the job.
Schmidt Futures EIR will accelerate the impact of this new kind of entrepreneur. It will be similar to traditional venture capital EIRs in some respects, and different in others:
- Like EIRs at venture capital firms, our EIRs will evaluate investment opportunities and nurture new ideas. Unlike at venture capital firms, our EIRs will focus on opportunities and ideas that have the potential for massive social impact.
- Like EIRs at venture capital firms, our EIRs will work on building the plan, personnel, and funding for a new effort. Unlike at venture capital firms, our EIRs will incubate new ideas to shape whole sectors and disciplines at scale.
- Like EIRs at venture capital firms, some of our EIRs may follow the archetype of an iconic, solo founder pursuing a return. Unlike at venture capital firms, our EIRs will represent a broader vision of who can be an entrepreneur — not only a classic founder, but also a scientist, a teacher, a civil servant, or an executive.