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Evan_Gaensbauer comments on The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread - 26 October 2015 Edition - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 31 October 2015 05:21:38AM *  5 points [-]

Effective Altruism Companies

The idea of 'EA companies' is a notion some find problematic. Here is a rough framework I've deveoped for determing what might count as effective altruist company. By 'company' in this case, I definitely mean a for-profit organization, though its structure isn't important (e.g., startup, small business, corporation, investment firm, etc.). Some corporations have their own private foundations, such as Google with their philanthropic arm, Google.org. I don't know yet whether to count these as EA companies, or non-profits, as they're in an ambiguous space.

  1. EA Founders: often pledge profits above certain degree/amount to effective charities.

  2. Service providers for charities, donors, and foundations, such as Wave. Run on a b2b model, but profits are tied to donations or other altruistic goods.

  3. Companies which have several EAs doing E2G there, indicating it's not a bad place for EAs to work, the company encourages earning to give, and/or building professional solidarity for EAs. One example is Jane Street.

  4. Social businesses which work in developing nations and improve the welfare of employees rather than treating them as beneficiaries of charity. May take efforts such as lowering prices or increasing training costs to do more social good at the cost of not maximizing profits.

  5. Startups providing something which are expected to improve the world by there positive externalities, such as stuff Peter Thiel invests in.

  6. Investment firms aiming at companies which will have positive externalities for the world, such as Bill Gates investing in renewable energy technologies, or Peter Thiel investing in emerging technologies.

  7. Corporations which have internalised the lessons of effective altruism into their corporate giving and fundraisers.

Below is my current (and incomplete) list of EA companies. Please feel free to add any you believe meet the criteria listed. If you want to suggest a company which doesn't meet any of the criteria, rather than making a special exception for them, suggest a new criterion for me to add to the list which the company in question meets.

Type-1 Companies

  • 10MinutePQRS
  • Mealsquares
  • Bellroy
  • Draftable
  • Vesparum Capital
  • MaxMind
  • Quixey(?)
  • Arbital
  • Joylent
  • Metta

Type-2 Companies

  • Sendwave
  • Agora For Good

Type-3 Companies

  • Jane Street
  • Avant

Type-4 companies

Type-5 companies

  • DeepMind
  • Muufri

Type-6 companies

  • TerraPower
  • Founders Fund
  • OS Fund
  • Obvious Ventures

Type-7 companies

Comment author: Buck 31 October 2015 06:18:46AM 3 points [-]

Health eFilings is type 1.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 09 November 2015 06:20:49AM 1 point [-]

Right, I'm now aware 10MinutePQRS has become Health eFilings.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 02 November 2015 02:35:09AM 1 point [-]

Avant is Type-3.

Also, I thought Lendlayer was sold to Affirm. http://fortune.com/2015/08/05/affirm-acquires-lendlayer-to-bolster-education-loans/

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 09 November 2015 06:23:39AM 0 points [-]

It appears LendLayer has been acquired by Affirm. I wasn't aware of this. I'd be interested to know what the founders of LendLayer, particularly those who are also 80,000 Hours members, are doing now. I'll try finding out.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 09 November 2015 07:48:32PM 0 points [-]

Matt Gibb is working for Affirm now. I don't know what Ben Gilbert is up to. And I don't know who the other co-founders are.

Comment author: Raemon 31 October 2015 04:52:50PM 1 point [-]

Agora For Good is type 2. We're building a donation platform that:

a) make it easy for donors (in particular, people outside the EA community who have attachments to causes other than Global Health, X-Risk or EA-Meta-Charities) to find the most impactful charities they can within their cause area.

b) makes it easy and cheap for donors to give online to any nonprofit they want, while tracking their giving over time. (And, through the same process, makes it easier for noprofits to set up online donation collecting and tracking)

c) Over time, develop a scalable process to short charities roughly into the buckets of "possibly high impact", "probably high impact" and "definitely high impact", so as the effective giving becomes mainstream we're able to handle the increased flow of donations.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 09 November 2015 06:09:04AM 0 points [-]

This is great. I didn't expect to see another type-2 company besides Wave, so I'm pleased with this development.

Comment author: tjmather  (EA Profile) 31 October 2015 01:42:19PM 1 point [-]

I think MaxMind is type 1.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 09 November 2015 06:07:49AM 0 points [-]

I checked out MaxMind's website, and they might be the best example of an "EA company" I never knew about. They're excellent. Thanks!

Comment author: AlexRichard 31 October 2015 05:41:37AM 1 point [-]

Quixey is plausibly type-1, not type-3.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 09 November 2015 06:02:46AM 0 points [-]

Both Liron Shapira as a private individual, and Quixey as a company, have donated $15,000 to MIRI. That definitely constitutes "plausibly type-1". For a medium-sized company, I'd want to know more of what they intend to do, re: donations. I'll look into it some more.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 09 November 2015 05:38:55AM *  0 points [-]

How's that? When I watched the livestream of EAG 2015, the speakers invited any attendees in the audience to come up and address everyone with any important points they had. Topher Hallquist, an employee of Quixey, hopped on stage and told anyone qualified to apply to Quixey because the company was actively hiring. I figure Mr. Hallquist wouldn't have done this if Quixey wasn't a type-3 company.

So, what's the mistake I'm making in reading the situation?