Growing up in Shelburne, Vermont was an eye-opening experience for Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck, despite the fact that it was a small town. “I was able to go to private schools, see movies and go to college with fewer concerns about how to pay for it.” He noticed the disparities between the opportunities that he had as a youth and the opportunities that others had, and it ignited his passion to help those who have less from an early age. Once your eyes are opened, there is no turning back, and Justin Caldbeck has been moving forward ever since.
Through his high school years, Justin Caldbeck freely participated in several clubs and organizations that further opened his eyes to the gap between socioeconomic statuses. One organization in particular, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, made a major impact on his approach to service, was one with the motto, “Helping others while helping myself.” Through that organization, he realized how important it is to support people in defining their purpose, while lightening the load of financial and opportunistic inequality. Justin Caldbeck made it a priority to always be helping others, and his team spirit certainly carried him through his college career as a Duke University basketball player.
Justin Caldbeck is Balancing Inequality Through Service and Philanthropy
After Justin Caldbeck left Binary Capital, Justin Caldbeck doubled down on his focus to bring more equality and happiness to the world. He has chosen to concentrate on lifting up populations that suffer the most from lack of access to educational and financial opportunities. These specific groups include victims of sex trafficking, those who were formerly incarcerated and disadvantaged youth.
These are some of the most at-risk populations in the world. Victims of sex-trafficking are often also victims of abuse. One in seven runaways will be a victim sex trafficking, and girls in foster care have a very high level of vulnerability as well. Additionally, the imbalance in prison populations versus people who walk free for their crimes has been a focus in the media recently, and this is a cause close to Justin Caldbeck’s heart.
“I think that people need more opportunities to share their experiences and their passions, so that others can feel more like the world is a better place when they’re a part of it.” Justin Caldbeck recognizes that when people have opportunities for enriching experiences, they feel supported and have more resources to share with others. They use these resources to improve their communities, spreading the benefits exponentially.
Using Angel Investments to Level the Playing Field
Another objective important to Justin Caldbeck, is the advancement of women and minorities in leadership. Women only make up 40 percent of business owners in the United States, even though they make up 50 percent of the population; and men typically receive 10 percent more in business loans than women. Facing an even steeper uphill battle, minority-owned businesses only make three percent of total revenues. Though minorities are also approaching 50 percent of the population, they own 15 percent of all US businesses.
Angel investors often profoundly impact the success of a startup; and they have more flexibility to help the companies they choose to work with, in ways that meet the individual needs of those companies. Angels are uniquely equipped to address specific issues of women and minority-owned startups. Recognizing his position and privilege in the business world, Caldbeck has been leveling the field by offering his expertise and funding to entrepreneurs who have a difficult time otherwise finding access.
Justin Caldbeck is Defining Philanthropy Through Creating Change
Caldbeck is earnest in his desire to make the world a brighter, happier place. He works every day to use his privilege in a way that gives back and creates change. “This year, I’m going to be adding my name to a number of additional local, national and international charities. Ultimately, I hope to make a difference in the world. We’re all created equal. Giving my time and resources back to help make it even more equal is my dream.”
His focus on helping to lift up women and minorities in their entrepreneurial efforts is just one of the many causes that Caldbeck champions. He also makes it a priority to inspire and support today’s youth. He wants to see a world where security and opportunity are not privileges, but a normal part of everyday equality. When people feel that they have something of value to share with others, the joy created is contagious.
That’s exactly what Caldbeck is hoping for, as he continues his journey toward global improvement that starts with the self and expands to the rest of the world. He wants his investments—now and in the future—to be a catalyst for change, and his experience and expertise in growing businesses and startups are the foundation for what comes next.