Bureo is news to us, and we like good news. We are always on the lookout for fellow travelers, and while Tin Shed Ventures is by no means new it is news to us. And newsworthy based on the partners they have chosen:
Tin Shed Ventures is Patagonia’s corporate venture capital fund, which invests in start-ups that offer solutions to the environmental crisis. Originally launched as $20 Million and Change in May 2013, Tin Shed Ventures partners with businesses focused on building renewable energy infrastructure, practicing regenerative organic agriculture, conserving water, diverting waste and creating sustainable materials. The Tin Shed name is rooted in Patagonia’s history. In 1957, a young climber named Yvon Chouinard decided to make his own reusable hardware. Using supplies procured from a junkyard, he taught himself how to blacksmith. By 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing hardware in North America—produced in a tin shed in Ventura, California. But there was a problem. The company’s gear was damaging the rock as popular routes had to endure repeated hammering of steel pitons. So Chouinard decided to phase out of the piton business, even though it comprised 70 percent of the company’s sales at the time. He introduced an alternative: aluminum chocks that could be wedged in the rock and removed by hand, rather than hammered and left behind. The audacious move worked. Within a few months, the new chocks sold faster than they could be made. Patagonia has since expanded from a climbing hardware company into a global outdoor apparel brand with $800 million in sales while maintaining a strict commitment to sustainability in its products and supply chain. Tin Shed Ventures is funding the next generation of responsible business leaders who share these core values.
We started the fund because we felt existing models for start-up capital were broken. Traditional investors tend to focus on short-term growth and profit, then quickly flip the companies in which they invest. We take a completely different approach to investing. We place environmental and social returns on equal footing with financial returns and provide long-term, patient capital that helps to support forward-thinking entrepreneurs for the long haul. Overall, our aim is to support like-minded start-ups that embody Patagonia’s mission statement – “We are in business to save our home planet.”
Because we take this unconventional approach, our coalition of companies has been able to do some incredible things. In addition to investments aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water and regenerate soil health, our solar investments are providing clean energy for thousands of households throughout the US. We consistently rally together with fellow B Corps to develop solutions to the environmental crisis and magnify the impact of our investments.
Ultimately, the goal of Tin Shed Ventures is to prove that business—and investments—can be engines for positive change. We’re excited to fund and mentor the next generation of responsible businesses, and we hope other investors will join us in doing so.