(Journal entry written by Matt Cook on March 7, 2016)
I will attempt to do two things in this post: Provide an overview of our company, KVCF (Kingdom Venture Capital Fund), as well as explain what exactly what “Kingdom” means to us, as the first and primary letter/name/motivation of our business. Since I’ve been a part of so many theological conversations over the years through starting this business in 2013, I’ve been ever the more compelled to deepen the lengths at which I share some of the conversations and revelations publicly. I think most will find value if seeking it in the spaces of spirituality and business; so hang in there as you read and try to keep the mind open! In our day and age, spirituality is as wishy washy as ever, but that is only because the ecosystem in which it thrives is weak, and… well, therefor it just doesn’t thrive.
Relationships with pure people:
Since 2013 we have remained unrelenting in our pursuit and quest to seek people that show purity of heart over purity of skill. Just as the ‘body’ (church) needs to collaborate in unity to progress, the forming of pure relationships are quintessential to bringing ‘kingdom’ into the marketplace through our endeavors as a company. I will touch more on what I mean by this further below. Since 2013, we’ve remained on dry land, prepping our ship and crew, if you will, to forage through to a new world. And do it with purpose.
Through our company, KVCF, and the various subsidiaries and projects that we’ve started [such as an idea factory (Idea Vessel) and quasi fair-tech SaaS development company (Tech Vessel); a cocoa exporting business in Africa; a religious TV show (Christian Beer Network); writing projects and more] we represent a youthful generation that is both intellectual and spirit-led, who desires to create global impact through social economic development-based businesses, backed by theologically sound Christian belief systems and decision making that is spirit-led (or Kingdom-minded) first and foremost.
To mature ourselves in the ways of seeking divinity, pursuing God and his will, and aligning His will with our own (we can classify this as ‘being renewed by the transformation of the mind’ -Romans 12:2), having merging the two wills together, we believe the formation of a constitution by which we can rely on in all of our business endeavors is feasible, and sets precedence for scale, in our businesses and lives to onset a better ecosystem for our following generations to come. Spirituality, in a way, is only as powerful as the forefathers who plant the trees that oxygenate the environment for the future inhabitants of the land. Since my feeling is that we’ve been depleted of this oxygen, and for no good reason (I’ll be glad to elaborate on another post from my numerous journal entries on the matter, if it is something of general interest), the aim with KVCF is to essentially uproot, replant and rebuild; from baroness to bountiful harvests.
What exactly is a harvest? Well, aside from the standard Christian evangelistic mindset of “saving” souls (which we approve of, conceptually, but often don’t like the religiousness or terminology used many who pursue it), we aren’t really in that direct of a stream. We’re not pastors, preachers or evangelists. We’re entrepreneurs, investors and spiritual capitalists. So in the sense of business, our stream, what we aim to harvest is righteous capital, or “spiritual capital” (to expand on the coin-phrase above) that can be used for kingdom purposes (God’s will) on earth.
This is what our company, KVCF, values as a core operating principal. It is the treasure we seek, daily, and is what we believe harnesses the power to change the world. Our faith for it is strong, we pursue it at great lengths (often times it proves not to be the most logical path to finance), and with great purpose and steadfastness. As we reflect with our company slogan, “Righteous Investing”, our belief is that it is imperative to share our methods of business with those we invest in, seek to invest in, and with the rest of the world, so that others can become spiritual capitalists and learn how to properly fertilize new businesses; in turn sowing into new spiritual value chains within every sector, market and industry around the world.
Behind the scenes, in our imaginations as we’ve explored the realms of possibilities, we’ve continued to discover new thoughts, ideas, strategies and revelations, from businesses to government to church and beyond, I have been overwhelmed with convictions to pursue a lifetime of pattern seeking and puzzle completion. I recall speaking at a government level, which, though was briefly done and on two separate occasions, even having been so momentarily, it excited me the most as I began to think just how radical of change we can create if from the top down. As our business grows legs, and our financial capacity increases to the point of being competitive in the crown-corporate landscape, I believe it is righteous-led deals that will prevail in many economic development arenas and frontier markets (such as our efforts have led us to India, Sierra Leone, Liberia and as of recent the rebuilding ex-USSR country of Georgia) to create a new world of opportunity for citizens with bottom-up focus. In the middle we will meet, having provided a new ecosystem to thrive within, as mentioned above.
I’d like to make a quick and valuable note to prove the grandeur and possibilities of change: The US constitution was written 232 years ago (approximately 9 generations ago, if counting one female generation average as 25.5 years standard ‘lifetime’ before giving birth to another) in 1787 from May 25 to September 17, a mere 17 weeks (or so), and signed on the last day. There were 55 delegates sent from 13 colonies to meet, 39 of which signed it upon completion, and a small handful of whom are notable figures that the world can remember. Typically, those who we first recall (Thomas Jefferson for writing the first ten amendments and the Bill of Rights; Alexander Hamilton and John Adams for their bits) were likely positioned due to their leadership strengths, bloodlines that came with great positions of power, due to the inherited ownership of land and influence amongst their colonies. Due to this combination of wealth and generational authority, these men partnered with their convictions, whether in divine or impurity (I will not argue either side here, for now), to create a document by which could unify and regulate a large body of people, that would, over the years, become the global powerhouse phenomenon that is today known as the United States of America. I find it very interesting that, with all things considered, within 120 days or less of these delegates meeting, an entire country would soon be built to rest on the core foundation of their writing, beliefs and philosophies (and some would argue, their connectivity with God). It is this kind of treasure, in magnitude, authority and lasting of time that I seek to create. And I do believe, just as the US has now gone on 9 generations since this document, that we too can achieve a much similar result, by consolidating a few lifetimes worth of pursuit of revelation to seek God’s will and kingdom practices (our current and future ‘partners’ at KVCF); and to re-write a spiritual and practical constitution that can be used as a righteous framework for the next 14 generations to build upon, in good faith. If there are good roots, there will be fruits. The only question is, who are the ones that will begin planting them?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Right now, our target is set on developing private sector influence. This entails the creation of a number of larger, more capitalistic minded corporate businesses; only in our efforts can be designed to operate the right way. At the moment, I am drafting a simpler framework for our fund by which we can get started on a few orders of magnitude larger than what we’ve previously done in the past. Since our first attempts between 2013-2016 were unsuccessful in many ways, mostly financially, we have taken many data points since (it is now the beginning of 2019, having recovered from much of our loss) and revisited the ways in which we conduct ourselves, both professionally and spiritually. The need for a constitutional framework is evident, to anchor our methods of business and provide a non-variable approach and consistency to our decision-making. In prayer, in prophecy, in financial strategies, partnerships, processes of diligence, selection of investments, investors, people and trusted industries; local and international efforts and focuses, etc. In the sense of traditional business development and planning, there is, of course, much to do. But moreover, the theological and fundamental principals of how we operate and for whom we operate (God) there begs the undeterminable and infinitely variable, by many people’s standards, conclusion on just how deep relationship with God can be, and just how direct of a path can the interpretation of God’s word be from spirit to flesh; from vision to practice; from crazy and whimsical to real and validated. Are we to bridge such things as miraculous to obvious; prophetic to observation; and faith to knowledge backed by practicality? These are, perhaps, the end point visions, but at some place the process has to start. So here we are now. Considerate of falling, but only willing to fall forwards.
It is evident that to most, what we do and offer is outrageous, and tough to understand. At best, generally, it’s been conclusions that we are silly, our zeal outweighs our wisdom and the risk to partner with us is irrefutable, so any such outcome has been impossible for most to create a valuation for. We could be seen in various ways as dreamers, who’ve lost a few million dollars and fallen in our first pursuits, so the world should be careful. Or worse, we could be thought as scammers, leveraging the church and Christianity for the evil-will of our greed and desires, which are masked by our ignorance of self, distorted beliefs and spiritual conclusions demonically thwarted. We have been told many things, and felt many pressures, but all of which I believe necessary to properly sharpen us and create a sword worthy of cutting through the toughest of enemies.
As we begin to build momentum with the right people, and a deep understanding of God’s unlimited power and love, many new opportunities will begin to show, and KVCF will begin to achieve the unthinkable. These outcomes, or actions, if you will, are what will win hearts and minds of many over time. The questions will begin to change and increase in numbers as the new spiritual capitalist emerges from nowhere onto the scene.
Maturity of Christians and especially in Business:
There are too many ‘Christians’ in business who seek finances before God, and put on a front amidst their operation, claiming to be wholly and irrevocably serving the body of Christ (or ‘the church’) through their endeavours. All too often I find people either misled by the term Christianity and what it means to be a follower of Christ (having true relationship), and/or find people that are straight up shady about who they are and what they are really after when amidst a group of likeminded people. There is a serious hedging of identities as Christian believers in lieu of receiving a sort of trust or grace or acceptance within a body of people, and frankly the world is catching on — and it’s ruining it for the pure ones. I see this at Christian conferences and churches all the time, people gloating about their charitable ventures, their righteous doings and how important their causes or financial needs to sustain a cause are. And unless one has either prayed for or been given a solid gift of discernment, there is likely no way to filter through the true hearts of too many people. It happens with grown men, even pastors, and though I understand the realities of the ‘flesh’, I suspect we as a 21st century Christian community can hold ourselves to a higher degree of maturity and spiritual intellect.
Christians and success:
Secondly, I find it very rare to meet people who understand that not only putting their finances second before Christ, but surrendering their entire lives, is ultimately the single greatest way to be successful. There are many opinions and teachings around success and money, to name just a few popular at the moment, in my own words: the prosperity gospel, the ultra-charismatic pray for checks in the mail, the wealthy/super elite on stewardship, the be bold give-it-all-away messages, and of course the parable of the talents messages to receive either more money or nations to rule over. Many of these messages come flying out at audiences with pure intentions to speak to the church body and genuinely help it out, but unfortunately these messages are received through tainted lenses and misunderstood realities of who God is and what he has empowered us to be capable of. Our backgrounds of varied work ethics come into play, with some people over-zealous to receive freebies from Heaven, to others wrought with striving to earn money and win God’s love through status or societal accolades. The interesting thing is, outside of the Christian communities the very nature of capitalism and wealth-creation is a free for all with minimal restraints, with the only convictions being to MAKE MONEY and do simply whatever it takes to get it. Hard work + consistency = success. There is no miracles necessary, and anyone from anywhere in the world can do it, regardless of background, ethnicity or tribe. Quite frankly, the church body today, and arguably for centuries, has been tainted with a stark inability to produce wealth and influence over the world — since there are simply too many convictions for pastoral leaders to rake through scripture and ‘find the way’ to success, rather than just getting it. My keep-it-simple-stupid thinking on this is why pray for something you’ve already been given access to?
Empires and the storage of wealth:
The greatest empirical success to date is said to be the Roman Empire, and it lasted 1,480 years. To some this is a stretch since the very meaning of the word ’empire’ is subject to opinion, but for the sake of making one of my important points early on and making it very clear, it is quite evident that WHATEVER WE HAVE BUILT on this planet has risen, and has fallen. There is nothing, and I mean nothing [to date], that our flesh has created which has sustained to last against the tests of time. This includes money, power, and infrastructure, and a whole lot of other things. Man made creations, in large-scale capacity which have typically derived from accumulated wealth has always decomposed after some amount of time. Many a times the creations have been graced to continue onward through the forms of a reset button being hit, a re-construction or revitalization in terms of leadership or servitude from the body which maintained strong convictions for one reason or another to keep the system going. Why do I say this? — well, of course it is to say that wealth cannot be taken with us when we go — so why do we care so much about how to accumulate it?!
Some may say this is a stupid question, but I argue that for a church body that is supposed to be deep in revelation; deep in relationship with God; and deep in maturity toward the understanding of God’s perfect love being the single most important thing to acquire while on this planet… why are we preaching and putting so much energy, and ultimately pressure on ourselves around the topics of money? 2000 years ago a farmer with a handful of seeds back in the day would teach his son, “put these into the ground, be diligent with caring for it all the way until the seed grows and a harvest comes, plough the fields so that you will sustain yourself plus even have enough for the neighbours and savings in case of a drought”. Wealth in and of itself was simple. There was no intricate theoretical belief systems of how the seed would grow or how people would make money. I can’t imagine it was necessary to create an entire spiritual thing of it. Work hard, have faith, of course, but create your own success. You work harder than your neighbour, you will have more. Reap what you sow. The sluggard sleeps while the diligent hand is rewarded. Biblical theology was simple, as was in my opinion the ability to thrive irregardless of your spiritual background.
The sin of man:
To speak about things and just call them out for what they are, today the sins of man have essentially compounded to the point where entire people groups, bloodlines of families, and entire countries have deprecated themselves of opportunity and potential, and people are left wondering, “why me?”. If you think about it, as ugly as it may seem (and I make these points to find solutions not just to call them out), a broken home of generational alcoholic fathers would pass on various traits of abuse along the children, in which the children would be stuck having to overcompensate for the father’s sin to either survive or break the cycle. Some cycles are more atmospheric extremes than others, whereas the physical or mental capacity of the following offspring simply may not be enough to overcome (such as a disease, or an de-habilitating circumstance). That circumstance would have been caused by the sin, and therefor the sin of man created a poorer future than God had otherwise intended.
The sin of a collective body:
Now in the same way but on a cumulative and national level, the decisions of a body, or government, to the same degree may sin in ways that create an atmospheric tension for future generations. The offspring of a nation will be empowered or disempowered based on the decisions of the forefathers. The US constitution and debt crisis is arguably the largest debate and challenge on the plate of americans today, which has essentially been caused by the sin of man, whereas the purity of leadership has been outweighed by the unrighteous. For examples sake, too many capitalist lobbyists with better interests for themselves as opposed to the general population have deterred growth in areas that suffering and inequality now exists. One cannot ultimately blame the future generation for it’s shortcomings, or entering into of war, but just as the child may have to overcompensate for his father’s alcoholism to break the cycle, we as a generation must overcome our past generations of sin and misunderstanding of how the Kingdom works, to re-set and re-focus efforts to re-construct righteously.
I find much interest in the understanding of history to both predict and prophesy the future. Creativity and passion of an organization comprised of a varied people group, whether small or large (a company such as ours for example with multiple backgrounds and world views) are essential to overcoming a global economy that is so complex and intertwined with sin. Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t care to spend my time dwelling or judging past sins, or have any negative or hopeless beliefs like “all of man is sinful”, or “the world is going to hell in a hand basket”, but I do cater to the importance of reality when I look in the mirror and see a flaw that needs fixing. We can choose to ignorantly view the world and hope for the best, or we can make direct odes to changing and seeking revelation from God on how to counter-balance the sin of man with the purity of love and righteousness.
Our company, KVCF was founded on the principles that Kingdom comes first, and through the economic pillar of society we can seek transformation and discover that the realities of pure governments, people groups, and reconstructions of nations are in fact possible in our lifetime. At the very least, we can massively create impact for the generations to come. If my grandfather build a road that I can drive on, how much easier should it be for me to build an empire when I can transport materials on the roads that I didn’t have to spend energy thinking about or creating. Despite the sin, there are all kinds of little secret advantages and mindsets that can propel us forwards. We just have to reach out and take hold.
Kingdom Venture Capital Fund – What is it?:
Since I am living with conviction to grow a company and organization that focuses on the above kinds of things all the time, while reaching out to the world and sharing in my own form of ministry (when someone is called to business I consider ‘work’ to be ‘worship’), I’d love to share about our company’s heart and mission.
At KVCF we have a few strong core values, but one of them always comes first. It’s the first letter of our name and everything we do should release this very word. “Kingdom”. So many ask me, “what does the Kingdom in your name mean?” Well, the answer is as simple as it is complex. If you could picture the kingdom as being heaven and all things in it, and it was as wonderful as it’s made out to sound — and it’s actually to one day be able to descend and come down on this earth — what would that be like? It is a very valid question, and one that many have prayed for ages. You know that verse, “..thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. Many call it ‘The Lord’s prayer’, written by Paul in the bible as the official response to asking Jesus how we should pray. This one quote has been around for ages. Yet many people don’t really understand the deepness of what it actually means. Just like being blessed by giving when you actually want to give, rather than when you have to give; when one not only prays this prayer but seeks to see it in reality, the outcome is much better. Furthermore, our take on ‘kingdom theology’ is, if the world actually took heed of the importance of this prayer, as a promise from God that heaven can really come to earth when you pray, and an entire body of people actually dedicated their lives to seeing this happen… the unimaginable would happen and world would actually be a way better place.
Heaven on earth?
Spirituality aside and forgetting all the religious stuff… Just imagine this reality: A real heaven, and it’s on earth. It is likely to emulate all the story book things like freedom, love, prosperity, equality, and would bring so many people together to solve many of the planets problems. This is the very philosophy that we place first and foremost at our Venture Capital Fund, and it’s not just a philosophy, it is a way of life and integrated into every decision we ever make. It is the greatest single important thing needed for humanity to thrive righteously. It’s simply, “Kingdom”.
To go deeper (please stay with me here this will be good I promise), the first and most sustainable priority we at KVCF believe that can make a difference, is the position of our hearts. The position of our hearts can be placed directly into receiving God’s love, and being received in such a way that can literally shine in us and through us. You know when you meet someone and feel they’re just an amazing spirit, or they are super positive and or have peace or joy in their life as opposed to stress and drama? It is contagious, right! Hard to find those kind of people, but when you find them you’d do anything to keep getting near them and keep them around.
Spirituality within the Venture Capital arena? A crazy thought:
For us, the art of dealmaking in the venture capital world is full of sharks, business savvy entrepreneurs, statistical, majority left brain people who commonly could care less about love, peace, or designing a deal that serves others. The position of their hearts is a foreign concept to them, since it was never taught and to them serves no real relevance. For us, and ultimately why I think we are commented on as ‘so different’ in our approach, is that when we meet these kind of people and show that we are successful and bring quality to the table on their level, we are that pure person who is full of joy and peace that they can’t figure out and want to be around! It is like a breath of fresh air for them, since suffocating in their shells for so long, succumbing to the realities of their industry and competitive natures. To perform is to win, and to win is to achieve, and to achieve is to be paid. Avoiding judgement and shame are their motivators amongst their peers, and status is at the core of their identity. If their status ever deteriorates, or they are challenged in this area their identity is subject to deteriorate or be challenged along with it. This manifests all kinds of stress and anxiety, which bleeds into the rest of their lives outside of the work place. If they are not careful the work and the things they consume end up consuming them.
Purity of the spirit:
So when people like this have a chance to meet with KVCF, whether it is Grant or myself, or one our core advisors or staff, or the small-ish niche group of people that have kind of all magnetically found each other in this tight-knit industry of private equity and venture capital finance, they fall in love with us. But really they are falling in love with the God that shines through us, and ultimately the ideal of what they could be in that same image, because they know they are already powerful people.
One of the best and most scariest things is that when shining a light, the darkness is forced to leave, and typically/historically speaking that process can be quite uncomfortable. Some people discover that their foundations were built on cracks and it is very difficult for them to tear down, restructure and rebuild effectively, to the point of ‘why bother, it’s too late and I don’t have the energy, faith or time’… and others with their deep-rooted entrepreneurial tendencies seem to apply their never-say-die attitudes and ‘have to make it work no matter what’ mentalities toward spirituality and become some of the most forward-crushing, momentum driven believers on the planet. This is what excites me the most, since Jesus didn’t focus on the righteous to become powerful leaders, he focused on people like serial killers, the heretic, prostitutes and the sinners.
Working at KVCF:
The best thing about working at KVCF is that we have the ability to not only start building an empire that can make change globally, but we also get to share our story and meet other people who can also be impacted to do the same. Often the people we interact with are much older or further down the line than we are, financially, and the empires of their own that are already built can be reconstructed to create massive impact globally. Together, there is no limits to what we can achieve. Billions of dollars worth of new kingdom minded global influencers are already right here at our doorstep, and we’ve only just begun. How big is God? He is much bigger than simply striving to make money, I can tell you that.
The presence of God:
Since the beginning of time, the presence of God has in some way, shape or form has been felt by humanity. Arguably this conviction, if you will, mixed with our own personal free will to learn and grow is what has guided civilizations throughout the ages. The presence of God to date has been the single one, most sustainable or empirical force that has ever lived. It is everlasting, and it’s because it lives inside our spirits and hearts, which can’t easily be taken from us — in most cases only if given or sold by choice. That is the very reason why we at KVCF has placed ‘Kingdom’ in the beginning of our name. It is not about the “Venture” or the “Capital”, or even the pat on the back efforts of our charitable aims, or the ‘righteous investing’ slogan, which would all be considered the “Fund”. It’s about building and spreading the Kingdom first and foremost in all that we do.
We have made a decision to invest our lives, our energy, our mental power as individuals; come together as a body while seeking others that want to collaborate with us and aim to bring Kingdom to earth in so many ways. We strive to represent what a true relationship with God actually looks like and to become a representative of this very initiative to nations around the world. For us this looks like using our skills and personal passions to create, and it comes in the forms of making new businesses that create impact. We believe one of the greatest current needs on this planet is for “Kingdom” to be injected into the private sector, becoming a great influencer to the leading and controlling of seemingly every nook and cranny of infrastructure within the developing and emerging nations around the globe.
The desire for more Kingdom and authenticity in business:
There are many Kingdom-focused approaches, philosophies and strategies that we feel God has been providing through the answering of prayers, and there are deep revelations which will help KVCF bring to the table a fresh new look on the mixture of what exactly it takes to create and/or turn an empire that is falling to one that can rise again, and become sustainable… and it all stems from the heart. There are things we think about on a daily basis such as biblical teachings on governments and power, the resetting, re-constructing and revitalizing of entire people groups and economies (as mentioned above), and ways that deal structures can happen on a global scale to compete with powers that simply aim to take advantage of the weak. To aim for becoming rich is to be weak, but to aim for collective wealth is to be strong. We believe in the sharing of wealth amongst the nations. We don’t believe fully in the socialistic kinds of equality, since different parts of the body have different purposes and functions, but we push for rather the equality of opportunity, to be free to capitalize with no such thing as slavery, un-necessary in-debtness, poor monopolizing deals with no alternative ways out and most of all the majority of the impoverished people groups who have the hearts (and skill-sets) of giants which aren’t being utilized.
While we constantly learn, move and discover — as leaders, servants and a company / organization / movement as a whole — it is this message we have to remain focused on and drive home to our audience. More kingdom. More heaven. As religious as it may sound to try and put everything into words, we feel our audience is more mature than that, and we are all seeking the trueness of love. For God said, “if you love your neighbour, you love me. If you don’t love your neighbour, you don’t love me”. It is really that simple.
Closing, in prayer
We pray for continual relationships to sprout with more like-minded people, who are open to receiving God’s love, but equally share the understanding that religion is never the answer. As Jesus himself rebuked the Pharisees for their perfect and religious ways of life and lacking of relationship, we aim to showcase the realities of how relationship can be attained, and how others can experience the trueness of this God-driven perfect love.
Lastly, to any of those who have found themselves hurt along the way in their personal paths, whether it be financially or relationally, or through entrepreneurship or through seeing vision come to life… it is not a path that was said to be easy! Since we are all made of the same flesh, and are largely considered emotional beings, we need to work together as a body (a “church” in it’s true definition), and learn to understand each other’s short comings; to fix them and to chime in whenever necessary to uplift each other in faith and in good spirit.
Thank you all for reading and may God bless you as you enter into this next season of your lives, as we do the same.