02 April 2009

Equity for stability, not necessarily growth

Traditionally the investment in equity was for the sake of growth while the lending of debt was for the sake of stability. We need to figure out how to invest equity for the sake of stability. It would be investment as endowment rather than as bridge loan unsecured by any extant revenue streams.

Commercial investment is really just a risk-bearing way to solve the cash flow problem all unrealized projects have. Everyone focuses on the risk but what's really going on in early-stage investment is really just a bridge loan until the revenue stream kicks in. That's why strategic alliance is such a good source of seed capital -- strategic allies have a clear understanding of the prospective revenue streams that will pay off the investment.

What mature enterprises need is an internal bank to establish the enterprise's capital requirements to reflect the minimal store of fertility to make the fund able to generate income and harvests. That would be more like slow capital. Presently the equity investments we make for the sake of stability we call philanthropy. We need a different sort of relationship to stability and the management for the sake of deepening rather than elaborating whatever value someone is trying to promote.

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