The meeting was interesting - certainly a good networking opportunity if nothing else.
It was hosted by Mission Edge, the Columbia Venture Community and the Honor Foundation. I knew a little bit about Mission Edge - they provide consulting services to non-profit organizations and I had arranged for their CEO to speak at this year's San Diego Startup Week. I didn't know anything about the Columbia Venture Community though. It is made up of alumni of Columbia University in New York City - apparently there are several thousand of them here in San Diego and this is a new group here in San Diego.
Nor had I heard of the Honor Foundation. It provides training for U.S. Special Forces - like Navy Seals - who have left the military and want to start careers in business. That struck me as rather strange - why just special forces? Aren't they the elite of the military? The facility was super nice but I wondered if normal grunts who leave the military have the same opportunity. I am sure there is some reasoning behind this but I wasn't able to talk to anyone in that organization.
As for the presentation there was lots of good information - the main one being from Mission Ventures that provides financing for social ventures. My take was though that most of the projects they support were a little too "picture perfect" - a non-profit that provides markets for artists in Africa and business development for Somali immigrants. Good stuff- but I was left with the impression that something was missing and there should have been projects that were more broadly inclusive.
Also, I had gone to their (now defunct) Meetup group about six months ago and realized they were trying to serve three fairly distinct groups. Non-profit organizations - some of which are fairly big and well funded, philanthropists and investors who want to support social ventures, and entrepreneurs who may have ideas or small startups in the social venture space. These three groups have different interests, and it will take more than a meeting once a year to find common ground and get them connected.
All in all though it was a good meeting - I learned quite a bit, met some interesting people and had some good wine and food. This is probably something to keep an eye on. The social venture community in San Diego is not well established yet so it will be interesting to see how things develop.