Cycling for a Cause: Joyance Partners Joins Techbikers!
I’ve known about TechBikers for a few years, and that’s how long I’ve been wanting to join one of their rides, but I just never really got around to doing it (life always seemed too busy). For those who don’t know: TechBikers is an amazing community of tech-entrepreneurs and investors with a passion for fitness, community and helping others. They organize long bicycle rides across European capitals. Each participant also raises funds for charity, as if cycling 300km wasn’t enough 🙂. The proceeds go to Room to Read, a childhood literacy nonprofit that builds schools and libraries in developing countries such as Nepal, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
This year, the perfect occasion to drop the laptop and jump on the bike finally presented itself: In April, I joined Joyance Partners, a VC fund that invests in companies that create delightful moments. We believe these experiences can be delivered by a range of new technologies, from transforming the human organism (genetics, bioscience), creating new forms of human chemistry (personal pharma, the microbiome), reading, understanding or altering our minds (neuroscience), changing human experience rather than the body (virtual and augmented reality), to altering what we eat and drink (next-generation food). This basically means it is my job to promote health and happiness, and to scout and partner with the best entrepreneurs operating in these amazing fields!
Et voilà: TechBikers and Joyance’s values line up so well, we decided to sponsor their Paris to London ride. I also convinced two of my team members to join the effort: Neha Tanna, our Principal with a background in medicine and pharma, and Holly Jacobus, our Investment Partner with a love for consumer products and next-gen foods. At that point, it was just a matter of pedaling… or so we thought 🙂!
What did we learn of three days of sweat, padded pants, energy bars, and blisters?
The ride is stunning! The scenery is beautiful; the French countryside is incredibly picturesque, like it’s been drawn by an impressionist painter! Definitely worth it.
It’s a great character test. The ride is long - three days of cycling seven or eight hours, with ~1200 meters elevation gains each day. There were moments when we were tired, our legs hurt, as did our backs, and necks...but never our spirits!
Suffering together for a common purpose creates the best friendships. There’s a special camaraderie that develops out of pushing each other to climb up a hill, or admiring a sunset on the ferry from Calais to Dover. Jerome, Maria, Barry, Andrew, Harry, Yoav, Kevin, are just some of the great people met - I believe riders self-select for awesomeness 🙂.
The organisers are the ones that give the most! Logistically, everything was perfect over the three days, and I can only imagine how much work that took. Thank you to Eze, Tom, Joanne, Eduardo. You guys are so inspirational, it takes an incredible amount of effort to coordinate these rides starting months in advance. You are role models for the European Tech community!
Room to Read helps people in wonderful ways. Leanne, Room to Read’s Corporate and Trusts Associate, joined the welcome party at Google Campus London and walked us through all they’ve accomplished through the years. This ride alone raised more than £62’000, which will enable them to build eight libraries across Vietnam and Nepal, and donate a huge number of books. This creates tangible benefits for kids in need, truly changing their lives (e.g. 13,000 girls education participants in Cambodia). Education is extremely important in our industry, and it is even more important for them!
We are delighted to have contributed to the realisation of the ride, and look forward to joining future rides and building upon the relationships with our newly made friends. We’re always happy to meet new and like-minded people in the health and happiness space, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Neha Tanna at email@example.com, and Holly Jacobus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Managing Director Paolo Pio