Joyance Partners: Investing in Happiness

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I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am—and our entire team is—about our new endeavor: pursuing the Technological Vectors of Happiness.

Welcome to Joyance Partners, our new $20M venture capital fund that invests in companies from a range of new technologies with the potential to deliver happiness to individuals; what we call Delightful Moments. 

Delightful Moments have been part of all human experience. They are the small, but powerful, separations from the daily humdrum. They are those moments when we feel a bit stronger, calmer, more joyful, more in control, and more in tune with the greater universe, further away from anxiety and pain.

Psychedelics. Meditation. Nicotine. Endorphins. The smell of vanilla. Massage. Jazz. Food. These are all traditional sources for Delightful Moments.

The Tech Vectors of Happiness range from transforming the human core (genetics), to creating new forms of human chemistry (personal pharma) or perceptions (neurosciences), to platforms that change a human’s circumstances, rather than body (virtual reality) and even transform that body into something radically new (personal robotics). 

By investing in the Tech Vectors of Happiness, Joyance Partners is the first VC health fund focused purely on individual, personal experience, rather than today’s medical industrial complex. While Joyance sees the value in helping doctors and clinics, health plans and hospitals, our new fund sees far greater long-term human impact and value in the generation of technologies that will replace today’s syndrome-centric approach, with something more personal, more preventative, more predictive and dramatically more powerful.

Joyance Partners will take a long-term view on how new technologies will develop and deliver Delightful Moments. We recognize how nascent new Vectors of Happiness are, and so accept that we are likely to see many twists and turns as technology advances and the world society continues its seemingly inexorable, but highly unpredictable, digital transformation.

We kick off the fund with five Areas of Investment Focus. As with our existing Social Starts funds, at Joyance we will examine our progress in each of these areas every six months and adjust them based on all the available information we can glean on where to find the greatest tech development in:

· Emotion Detection. Determining how people feel and personalizing their experience accordingly.
· Emotion Intervention. Creating positive feelings, diminishing negative feelings.
· Emotion Creation. Evoking certain emotions or sensations.
· Altered State.  Altering how people experience the world around them.
· Altered Environment. Focusing not on changing the person, but on changing the context where the person is.

As we examine technologies in these areas, we will focus particularly on 3 Cs, the characteristics we feel define the fundaments for Delightful Moments:

· Choice. A Delightful Moment must be something an individual chooses.
· Change. A Delightful Moment brings about a notable change of state, in either the person or the person’s context. It is an experience separate from the norm.
· Coherence. A Delightful Moment must be coherent, with a distinct beginning, middle and end. It is of a piece. It can be chosen again and again, or can change over time as the individual decides.

I’ll be back shortly with a review of our first investments from the fund. Happily, our Happiness Fund has found a rich vein of remarkable companies delivering, or contributing to the future delivery of, Delightful Moments.

My mentor, Bill Ziff, used to say: “Great questions drive great answers.” The questions: “How do we define and measure the experience of happiness? How can technologies help us become happier?” will be among the best questions any of us has ever had the chance to explore.