2023 Annual Letter

Nate Fischer, Founder & CEO

As we enter 2024, I see three interrelated themes that explain contemporary societal fear, malaise, and conflict, and that frame the opportunity for a true positive alternative vision.

Each of these themes touches a key contemporary problem, and each reflects a pervasive underlying ideology. Together, they contribute to a broader breakdown in societal trust and order. Likewise, I see three corresponding solutions that must define a positive future. Many people emphasize one or two of these problems and/or solutions. I believe all three problems are deeply linked, and that successful responses will often include solutions to all three.

Global disruption:
Driven by an ideology of globalism, leaders in all segments of society have pursued connection with and dependence on distant counterparties. The decades surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union saw an unprecedented growth of global trade and information flow and political openness. But as competition with China escalates, wars emerge in Europe and the Near East, and militias threaten trade routes with weapons that impose asymmetric costs, there is a rising awareness of the risks of such a system—fragility inherent in any sort of external or distant dependency. Moreover, the system of globalism creates a tragedy of the commons; tighter aligned groups, who are less focused on universal ideals, often politically outmaneuver those who are committed to the universalism necessary to sustain a global market.

The solution is household, community, regional, and national self-determination—a fractal approach that recognizes outside connections will remain, but systematically favors local (whether local to a geography or aligned community) interactions when feasible. Successful startups will facilitate such interactions, leveraging existing local networks or enabling new connections, rather than defaulting to the distant and anonymous.

Bureaucratic stagnation:
Managerialism—the push to professionalize/rationalize/commoditize every process and organization—has redefined the structure of our society over the past century. This process enables scale, a direct complement to globalization. But it also comes at a cost: bureaucratic impediments to decision-making, accountability, and innovation; rationalized processes that feel cold and sterile; commoditization that forces conformity and destroys variety. And it has led to widespread bloat, with outsized growth of administrative jobs in domains from finance to education, and departments like HR in every sector.

The solution is multifaceted—a combination of new frontiers and organizational models more dependent on ownership and skin in the game instead of bureaucratic checks, enabling an elevation of the human spirit even in a complex world. Startups inherently tend in this direction, and startups whose products empower decision-makers in complex environments (in contrast, for example, to those that abrogate human decision-making through hard-coded processes) will see particular appeal. AI will offer particular contrasts between tools that automate oversight mechanisms to allow the expansion of bureaucratic governance, and those that automate creative functions to give leverage to individuals.

Cultural and political alienation:
Cultural conflicts have encompassed every institution and area of American life in the past decade. Practices and traditions that were widely accepted have been attacked and deconstructed by ideological narratives—such as DEI and CRT—grounded in radical liberation and egalitarianism. While many see these as irrelevant "politics" that are bolted on to otherwise-neutral businesses, they in fact complement globalism and managerialism (one reason why any solution simply branding itself as “anti-woke” will struggle to meaningfully differentiate itself). They help strip people of familial and cultural attachments to make them more predictable/malleable participants in global bureaucracies, and offer a comfortable moral framework to people in such careers. While this has driven widespread corporate embrace of these ideologies, it has alienated millions of Americans.

The solution is a renewed embrace of the American tradition and Christian ideals. This means a recognition that these are good things, worthy of protection and celebration, and for many businesses and institutions, it means a proactive focus on marketing to and serving individuals and communities who still embrace these values—both because of the short-term opportunity to pick up customers alienated by competitors, and because truly serving these people will mean focusing on real problems and valuable, durable solutions.

New Founding's vision:
Americans are hungry for a positive vision they can rally around. Many in both politics and venture recognize key problems described above and promote solutions targeted at them. But too often, they approach these in isolation or focus on surface-level phenomena rather than the root issue—leaving doubt as to the viability or sufficiency of proposed solutions.

At New Founding, we see deep relationships among these problems, and believe that solutions that likewise touch multiple themes can be poised for successes that more isolated responses struggle to achieve. For example, a startup that not only markets to alienated conservative customers, but designs its product to be more empowering than bureaucratic alternatives, may parlay success with politically motivated early adopters into broader appeal across its sector. Likewise, the best response to an unreliable dependency on a global tech giant may not be an individualistic, trust-minimized technology (these often struggle to offer a competitive user experience), but rather an approach that builds on the deep trust that still exists in many aligned communities such as churches—creating a solution that is not just a necessary compromise given declining institutional trust, but a higher-trust and more personal alternative. In a world where the risks of scale and distance grow, impersonal bureaucracies stagnate, and culture battles rage, the greatest store of value will be high-trust communities.

We believe new ventures that address the core problems described above will benefit from growing macro tailwinds, and have not just niche appeal, but the potential to transform their sectors. Moreover, as disillusionment with current institutions grows, those who offer real solutions to our underlying problems will tap a hunger that crosses domains from politics to business, and inspire people with the opportunity to build a positive vision for America’s future.

Our ventures:
We are pursuing this vision through several efforts: our venture fund, a new real estate-focused unit, and a new venture we are developing in-house.

First, through the New Founding Venture Fund, we made two early-stage investments:

  • Presidio Healthcare: Presidio is a health insurance startup focused on the pro-life market—initially launching ACA-exempt policies that will be cost-competitive with health care sharing ministries but with the benefits of true insurance. Their focus on serving conservatives/Christians stands out in a sector that has become politically charged, and they aim for incentive alignments and reimbursement approaches being pioneered by self-insured employers and others at the forefront of cost control. Presidio is building its waitlist and applying for an insurance license in Texas, and intends to launch its first policies this fall.
  • Armanet: Armanet is an ad platform focused on the firearms sector. Their product fills a gap for both sellers and publishers who suffer from the blacklisting of this sector by many Silicon Valley ad giants. The firearms sector is a natural early adopter of many resilient/censorship-resistant technology infrastructure products, and initial adoption in this sector will set many companies—including Armanet—up for expansion to a broader set of clients impacted by such censorship. Finally, Armanet's founding team bootstrapped the company to a working product and meaningful revenue before seeking venture funding—a signal of real skin in the game.

Our venture pipeline continues to grow, and we have several exciting prospective deals already lined up for the Q1 2024 fund. We are already becoming a sought-after partner from founders and co-investors, particularly because of 1) our vision, 2) our understanding of and connections across the right-aligned world, 3) our involvement as a sign of credibility in this world, and 4) our advisory execution. If you are interested in learning more about this fund or investing, please let me know or visit our fund page; we have also recently added several different options for subscription length/investment minimum.

Second, on January 1 we announced a project to buy real estate in the eastern Highland Rim in Tennessee and Kentucky and coordinate moves by aligned people and businesses, concentrated around a small town that we have identified in the region. For years, the prospect of new towns or cities allowing the sort of concentrated focus on the way of life at the center of positive alternative visions has excited people across the movement. This project capitalizes on that broad demand, key strategic relationships with people/companies whose moves will help drive broader appeal of the destination, and deep local real estate knowledge of members of our sponsor team. Moreover, our plan brings together all three themes described above across core community values, the nature of local institutions, and a particular focus on community self-reliance. In the week since launching, we have already seen exceptional demand demonstrated through our resident waitlist

Finally, we continue to work on a new venture that builds on concepts first explored in our Guide product in 2022 and our current talent placement business (where we have focused on aligned technology and executive roles). This product will launch in a space we understand well, and we aim to unlock tremendous social capital with a model of commerce that addresses deep and widespread desires and aligns with all three themes described above.

All of our venture efforts benefit from our growing network and public following. Our podcast has been a significant driver of this, achieving significant audience growth across both X and the podcast platforms, and attracting a number of prominent guests (the Erik Prince episode in particular attracting widespread attention). In our year-end review, New Founding partner Josh Abbotoy and I discussed the past year, many of the themes in this note, and more.

In sum, we enter 2024 in a heightened state of uncertainty and political and cultural conflict. By understanding the underlying themes that drive this, we can recognize the opportunities it presents for us and ventures we back—in some sectors, to grab attractive niches, and in others to help drive coming paradigm shifts.

Nate Fischer