NSV focuses its investments on technology-based companies that it believes have high potential to enable economic and/or societal transformation in the following sectors. Particular attention will be paid to ventures that are at the intersection of two or more of these sectors.
Delivering an effective response to climate change dictates a rapid transition to an economy based on renewable energy. This requires the establishment of a decentralized, reliable and resilient power grid. This includes distributed renewable energy generation, including solar, wind, waste-to-energy, biomass, geothermal, hydro and tidal technologies, as opposed to centralized energy production based on coal, natural gas, oil or nuclear fuel; advanced energy storage technology (e.g. batteries, ultracapacitors, compressed air, etc.); and software and network technology that enable smart grids.
This category primarily enables personalized, decentralize on-demand manufacturing and “mass customization” of production. The technology of 3D printing allows the acceleration of the design, development and production of increasingly sophisticated and varied objects. Contrary to traditional production systems, increasing the complexity of the object created does not increase the production costs. The added value of a complex object that performs complex functions is then attributable to its designer and not to the manufacturing process or the owner of the means of production. This also includes software and systems that increase the efficiency and flexibility of the decentralized manufacturing process.
Agribusiness’ green revolutions have allowed us to avoid the most dire predictions of the Club of Rome from the 70s that included global famine. The challenge today is to go beyond this. NSV seeks new solutions – hydroponics, urban and vertical gardening and container-based plant labs with crops lit 22 hours a day which do not require pesticides – that will transform agriculture from an activity with output that is proportional to the area occupied to one that scales with the volume of the growing space. It is then possible to feed a growing population while increasing food quality, with a radically smaller environmental impact. This also includes software which supports the monitoring, maintenance, harvesting, distribution and sale of the food products produced by these methods.
Technologies that enable the “quantified self,” personalized diagnostics and therapies, and advanced drug discovery and delivery are driving a paradigm shift in healthcare away from the traditional focus on the treatment of illness and disease in hospitals. The monitoring the state of personal health, with mobile apps and increasingly sophisticated sensors, makes customized preventative medicine available to everyone. This also includes software which analyzes, provides insights and draws conclusion from the “big data” produced by these technologies.
Increasingly inexpensive online information technologies are making the opportunities of modern society open to all. Barriers to entry are getting progressively lower, as long as knowledge is accessible and the ability to put it into practice increases. Traditional educational institutions are chronically late in developing curricula that prepare their students to play an active and useful role in modern society. The online learning revolution challenges schools and universities at all levels, disrupting their role and providing all the tools necessary for a robust customized continuing education, driven by passion, value and new models such as peer-to-peer learning.
The mathematical invention of the blockchain, and its implementation in forms such as Bitcoin, has revolutionized the world of commerce and payments. Decentralized, viral and accessible to all, the new world of cryptocurrencies promises solutions that lead to the emancipation of the individual and an increase in creative entrepreneurial pursuits. But even more generally, the explosion of innovative blockchain systems and their applications offer an alternative to the products and services of central banks, financial institutions and a variety of other businesses. The implementation of similar algorithmic approaches are already being applied to notaries, legal services and investment.
External security today is increasingly not based on traditional military or police forces, but more on e-borders, which are not geographically defined, and sound practices in data management and advanced electronic security. Internal security is also fundamentally changing. As long as users are on the same trust-based product sharing or exchange platform, the network will handle the verification and reputation management in an incomparably more streamlined and efficient manner than any police force. A wide range of technologies, products and services constitute this reinvented world of security.
To regulate of the activities of the other sectors, and society at large, new tools are needed. These will support transparent discussion, collective decision-making and the implementation of policies at local, regional, national and supranational levels. New tools and platforms that involve direct participation for increasingly larger groups of the population are emerging, putting pressure on traditional systems that are based on more opaque and hierarchical institutional politics. Also, new systems to make government more open, efficient and responsive to its constituents with fundamentally enhance the experience and power of the governed.