Lance Fors’ background is in the commercial and venture capital world. He founded a biotechnology company, Third Wave Technologies, and eventually sold it. Since then he has focused on social change and entrepreneurship, acting as mentor to a number of social entrepreneurs. Alliance asked him, as someone who had had a foot in both camps, how the concept of risk differs in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. For him, it’s when he puts on his non-profit hat that he’s willing to accept a higher failure rate to try to create systemic solutions.
First, risk is an essential component of any investment, whether in the commercial or the social sector. Obviously, you look at ways of minimizing it in any given situation. I’m a classic early-stage VC investor whether it’s for-profit or non-profit. I like to get in early, I like to find great people, and I like to help them build that organization.