Hi folks! I’m Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth, back with a new guest! Oliver Libby is the co-founding managing partner at H/L Ventures and the co-founder and chairman at The Resolution Project. As you’re about to discover, Oliver is hard at work making a difference in the world of entrepreneurship. Are you ready to be inspired?
Spiffy: Welcome, Oliver! It’s a pleasure to meet you. Can you start by telling us what challenges you are addressing through your work?
Oliver: I’m working to galvanize the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs as the Co-Founding Managing Partner at H/L Ventures and the Chairman of The Resolution Project. In both of these roles, I help innovative and passionate thinkers grow enterprises that are powered by purpose and diversity.
Spiffy: I’d love to hear more! What motivated you to support today’s generation of leaders and entrepreneurs?
Oliver: We often hear young leaders referred to as “leaders of tomorrow.” But I don’t think they have to wait until tomorrow: young people naturally gravitate toward projects that center on diversity, impact, and purpose. Social responsibility, impact, and diversity make for a stronger, more effective enterprise. The sooner emerging leaders act on their insights, the better—and their leadership will be infused with this drive and passion as a result.
Spiffy: I love the way you help encourage action now, Oliver. I’m curious how you and your organizations are working to create a more equitable world?
Oliver: Both H/L Ventures and The Resolution Project are fundamentally structured around the power and importance of impact, diversity, and equity. As a result, our H/L portfolio company founders and Resolution Fellows are among the most diverse groups in the world. Centering an organization with diversity and purpose isn’t just the ethical choice—it is, hands-down, an effective investment thesis.
Spiffy: What kinds of initiatives have you embarked on and what kind of impact do you anticipate these initiatives will have?
Oliver: Earlier this year, H/L Ventures announced the launch of our CityRock investment fund, which invests in companies with impact and diversity at their core. We launched with six companies, all led by diverse founders with unique perspectives on the problems they’re solving. Venture capital historically underfunds founders from diverse backgrounds—we’re trying to change that.
Spiffy: Can you tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make?
Oliver: Donnel Baird, CEO of a CityRock portfolio company, BlocPower, embodies our mission. BlocPower is a climate technology startup that retrofits buildings in disadvantaged communities to make them more sustainable and healthier. Growing up, he saw the impact that an antiquated energy system could have on health and safety, which inspired him to create a solution. Now, his company has completed over 1,000 projects in the U.S. and has uncovered opportunities to create jobs in disenfranchised communities across the country.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Oliver: If you’re often told that you’re a leader of tomorrow, try leading today. Start by thinking of a difference you can make in your own community today. It may be small, but creating a goal and plan to work toward it will make you a better, more effective leader. If what you’re starting is designed to help people, and is powered by diversity at every level, you are bound to be more successful than you would otherwise be.
Spiffy: These are powerful words to live by, Oliver! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about your amazing work, it’s been an honor.
Oliver B. Libby is co-founding Managing Partner of Hatzimemos / Libby Holdings (H/L Ventures) and of CityRock Venture Partners. Mr. Libby also chairs the board of The Resolution Project, Inc., a non-profit organization based in New York City which he co-founded in 2007. (First published on the Ladderworks website on September 16, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.