January 11, 2013 – 8:16pm By PETER MOREIRA
Gerry Pond, one of the region’s leading tech investors, has been named to the board of directors of a national foundation that encourages startups to donate some of their equity to charities.
The Upside Foundation is a new philanthropic body that asks startups to commit options to national charities, so that when the company exits, society as a whole will benefit from the company’s success.
“Good entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have always given back to the community,” Pond, a co-founder ofEast Valley Venturesin Saint John, said in an interview. He added the Upside Foundation “is really another vehicle for contributing. It links just a little bit more the people in the startup community with the social community.”
Based in Toronto, the Upside Foundation is modelled on successful U.S. and Israeli organizations that have channelled the proceeds of exiting startups into charities.
“The model is based on the recognition that startup entrepreneurs have no cash and no time,” said executive director Janie Goldstein. “The options at the outset are not worth very much, but we know that as the company grows their value could be substantial.”