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Young Billionaires Seek VC Investing That Improves the World -- and Turns a Profit


At this weekend's Nexus Global Youth Summit, a gathering of uber-wealthy men and women under age 40, the focus was on social entrepreneurship.

Then there's Ken Howery, the co-founder and managing partner of Founders Fund. His San Francisco-based firm is the first venture capital fund to focus solely on the founders of promising start-ups. It might sound like a bit of a gamble in the VC space, but Howery co-founded Pay Pal and sold it to eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) for a cool $1.5 billion. So he's confident he can find the next version of himself.

"A lot of people think that if you have family wealth, the only things you can do are either invest in public companies or give to non-profit foundations," said Howery during a presentation entitled 'Finding Your Investment Voice.' "But with venture capital you can give back to the world while making money."

One of Howery's latest investments at the Founders Fund is a Web-based service that's essentially an Open Table for doctors. By helping fill up available space on a doctor's schedule, more people are receiving health care, he said.

One of the youngest participants at the Nexus Summit, now in its second year, is Chelsea Mehra, who was the first female president of her high school Milton Academy's investment club during the 2010-11 school year. After graduation, she founded the Invest in Girls foundation to help attract more females into the financial services industry. "Value investing – what I do – is all about accountability," she says.

Another Nexus attendee is Firoz Ladak, the executive director of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation. He told participants about his foundation's philosophy on investing in social entrepreneurship, one of the hottest trends in the foundation space. "Inherently it needs to be tied to financial viability," said Ladak. "Because you need to create a sustainable entity that will eventually stop depending on your foundation. At a certain point you need to know when and how to exit."
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