“When I was 21, I returned from two years in Ecuador, determined to build a better world,” said Braintree founder Bryan Johnson in a statement. “My plan was to build a company so I could retire by 30 and have the resources to do it.” Now 37, he will not be retiring any time soon.
Johnson has just launched OS, a $100 million venture fund that will tackle humanity's fundamental problems and fuel innovations at an 'operating system' level.
“The stakes have never been higher,” said Johnson in an OS manifesto. “Our increasingly interconnected world and the rapid pace of advancement have afforded us the chance to leapfrog over previous limitations while placing us in perilous and polarizing circumstances. Some countries march forward in prosperity, while others can’t meet basic needs. Our planet is running out of resources. Our healthcare, medical research and pharmaceutical industries are faced with global pandemics, drug-resistant bugs and other health crises, yet we are hampered by structural deficiencies in research, the interpretation and sharing of data, as well as testing and discovery of new treatments.”
[ibimage==41564==Medium==none==self==ibimage_align-right]Johnson left his CEO position at Braintree in 2011 but retained a stake in the company when it sold to eBay last year for $800 million. He currently splits his time between the Washington, DC area and California, but returned to Chicago for last week's Chicago Venture Summit. He said that, although OS will scout investment opportunities everywhere, he is excited to fund progressive entrepreneurs in Chicago.
The time could hardly be more ripe for this bold project, Johnson said. “We are at one of the most exciting moments in history. At no other time has the distance between imagination and creation been so narrow. We now have the power to build the kind of world we could previously only dream of.”
Johnson said that 3D printing, artificial intelligence, genomics, and synthetic biology will be on his mind as he seeks ambitious new ideas that merit support.
"Where da Vinci could sketch, today we can build," he said.