Seeing Zebras in our immediate future

As someone who works to build community—and is, at best, mediocre at it—I’ve been super impressed, inspired, and astounded by the Zebra Movement, as one of those striking a chord movements that provides a space to collaborate with a likeminded community. And now, to continue their momentum, they’ve partnered with Institute for the Future.

If you’re not familiar with the Zebra Movement, it’s the antithesis of the Unicorn startup “growth at all costs” mentality. It’s a community of startup folks who are building good business that do good.

A company’s business model is the first domino in a long chain of consequences. In short: “The business model is the message.” From that business model flows company culture and beliefs, strategies for success, end-user experiences, and, ultimately, the very shape of society.

We believe that developing alternative business models to the startup status quo has become a central moral challenge of our time. These alternative models will balance profit and purpose, champion democracy, and put a premium on sharing power and resources. Companies that create a more just and responsible society will hear, help, and heal the customers and communities they serve.

With this new partnership, they gain even more potential to support the Zebra community. And to act with the urgency that is required.

For the last two years we’ve asked why startup culture was so broken for so many. Last November, hundreds of founders and funders eager for change gathered at DazzleCon, our inaugural conference. Attendees told us the solution is not to fix this broken system with incremental progress and disingenuous half measures. No more band-aids. We need to intentionally build the equitable, inclusive, collaborative, sane future we wish to see. This alternative model will be designed to support entrepreneurs solving real-world problems that improve society.

For more on the efforts of this partnership, read Zebras build the future.